Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/18/2010 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Moved Out of Committee
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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
             SB 199-MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR DENTURES                                                                          
3:07:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be SENATE BILL NO. 199, "An  Act providing for a two-year funding                                                               
cycle for medical assistance coverage for dentures."                                                                            
SENATOR JOHNNY  ELLIS, Alaska State  Legislature, referred  to an                                                               
opinion  article  that he  had  written  for the  "Senior  Voice"                                                               
[Included in  the committee  packets.] in  which he  described an                                                               
incident  which had  precipitated this  legislation.   He related                                                               
that an  elderly man, with no  teeth, had come to  Senator Ellis'                                                               
Anchorage office after  he had visited the  Medicaid Adult Dental                                                               
office.    The  man  relayed  that he  had  requested  a  set  of                                                               
dentures, but had  been told that he could only  receive either a                                                               
set of upper or lower dentures  in the same fiscal year.  Senator                                                               
Ellis emphasized that Medicaid Adult  Dental was a great program,                                                               
but that  this aspect was not  a practical, humane approach.   He                                                               
suggested  an  improvement  to  the  program  which  would  allow                                                               
patients to  receive a full  set of  dentures in the  same fiscal                                                               
year, along with  preventative dental care.  He  pointed out that                                                               
there would  not be an increase  to cost and he  anticipated some                                                               
future cost  savings.  He  cited the  many supporters of  SB 199,                                                               
which included  the Alaska Dental  Society, AARP, and  the Public                                                               
Health Association.                                                                                                             
3:12:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  asked why  the fiscal  note eventually                                                               
dropped to zero.                                                                                                                
3:13:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MAX HENSLEY,  Staff to Senator  Ellis, Alaska  State Legislature,                                                               
explained that  the original two  year amount was  forward funded                                                               
to  this  year,  and  then, as  the  beneficiaries  utilized  the                                                               
change, benefit costs would return to the regular pattern.                                                                      
3:14:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  asked  why this  would  become a  zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
MR. HENSLEY  explained that the  same level of benefits  would be                                                               
paid, but would  be in a single year, instead  of two consecutive                                                               
years.  He explained that once  this was implemented and the cost                                                               
shift  was absorbed,  there would  no longer  be the  second year                                                               
benefit as people  would have received a full set  of dentures in                                                               
one fiscal year.                                                                                                                
3:15:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked to  clarify  if  the bill  was  all                                                               
forward looking,  and would not  have any application to  a prior                                                               
MR. HENSLEY replied that this was  the intention of the bill, but                                                               
that  Department of  Health  and Social  Services  would need  to                                                               
3:16:43 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE LOGAN,  Dentist, Alaska Dental  Society, stated that  SB 199                                                               
solved a  problem.   He cited  an example  of a  dental treatment                                                               
which had required removal of all  the teeth, but would not allow                                                               
for replacement of both the upper  and lower dentures.  He opined                                                               
that SB 199  would also save money for the  state, as there would                                                               
be fewer emergency room visits for dental service.                                                                              
3:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked if  Medicaid paid for  the entire                                                               
replacement of dentures.                                                                                                        
DR. LOGAN said that the Medicaid reimbursement was very close.                                                                  
3:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
JON   SHERWOOD,  Medicaid   Special  Projects,   Office  of   the                                                               
Commissioner, Department  of Health  and Social  Services (DHSS),                                                               
stated that  Department of Health  and Social Services  liked the                                                               
concept of SB 199.  He agreed  that there would be an increase of                                                               
expenditure during the first two years.                                                                                         
3:22:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON, referring  to page 2 of SB  199 and noting                                                               
that  a person  was already  eligible for  services, asked  for a                                                               
clarification  about  the  eligibility  for  additional  benefits                                                               
during a two year period, and when it would commence.                                                                           
MR. SHERWOOD  replied that  DHSS envisioned it  for the  year the                                                               
denture was received and the subsequent fiscal year.                                                                            
3:24:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked if there were any precedents for this.                                                                    
MR. SHERWOOD offered his belief that  this was the first time for                                                               
imposition  of a  two  year limit,  and that  this  was the  only                                                               
service for  a fixed  dollar limit, which  was unique  for Alaska                                                               
3:25:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                        
3:25:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON stated support  for SB 199 and offered a                                                               
story of a 94 year old constituent whom this would affect.                                                                      
3:25:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON moved to  report SB 199 out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  SB 199 was reported  from the                                                               
House Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                            

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