Legislature(2003 - 2004)
02/10/2003 03:15 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 74-EXTEND BOARD OF NURSING Number 1814 CHAIR ANDERSON announced that the final order of business would be consideration of HOUSE BILL NO. 74, "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Nursing." REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM, as sponsor of HB 74, noted that it extends the termination date of the Board of Nurses to June 30, 2007. She described the membership of the board and noted that it establishes minimum education and work experience requirements for licensed nurses and certified nursing aides. The board also investigates complaints against licensed professionals and takes disciplinary action when appropriate. She said the board acts efficiently, and she urged the committee to pass the bill. Number 1753 KIMBERLY HANGER, Staff to Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Alaska State Legislature, testified that the Division of Legislative Audit reviewed the operations of the Board of Nursing and recommended the extension of the board. Each committee member's packet includes a letter from the former director of the Division of Occupational Licensing, Catherine Reardon, recommending the extension of the board. Number 1712 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked whether the sponsor considered adding statutory changes to the bill based on the recommendations from the auditors report [No. 08-20018-02]. He pointed out that the report highlighted two issues: notifying the Board of Pharmacy of changes to the prescriptive authority of nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists and developing a self-evaluation monitoring checklist for approved nursing aide training programs. MS. HANGER replied that these are regulatory matters that the board can deal with internally. Number 1630 PAT DAVIDSON, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division, Alaska State Legislature, replied to Representative Rokeberg that the two recommendations in the audit are operational, and that the Board of Nursing responded to both issues with plans of action. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Ms. Davidson to explain why this audit also recommends an eight-year extension on the Board of Nursing and to explain to the committee the scheduling and cost of sunset audits. Number 1578 MS. DAVIDSON replied that while the board must cover the full cost of its operations with license fees, it does not pay the cost of legislative hearings or audits. An audit can cost between $8,000 and $20,000, depending on the results. For example, the State Medical Board and the Board of Nursing audits are less expensive because the boards are well established and function smoothly. Some of the controversial issues do not relate to the board's operations. The Division of Occupational Licensing conducts investigations, and its work must be prioritized because it serves the boards across the occupations. The boards do not have control over investigations, which in some cases are controversial and hit the newspapers. Number 1387 MS. DAVIDSON, in response to Representative Rokeberg, agreed that the legislature would save one sunset audit if the board were extended eight years instead of four. She said the auditors would move to the next priority on their list and deal with their backlog sooner. The length of board extensions is completely up to the legislature. When the state adopted the sunset law, the legislature wanted to keep tabs on what's happening in the occupations, helping ensure that they are operating in the public's best interest. The Division of Legislative Audit does not lightly recommend eight-year extensions. Number 1268 RICK URION, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Community & Economic Development, testified that his division favors HB 74, the extension of the Board of Nursing. He reminded the committee that if legislators extend the board for eight years, they always have the option to request an audit. Number 1109 NANCY SANDERS, Chair, Board of Nursing, spoke in support of HB 74 and said she was available to answer questions. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG recounted how he sponsored a budget bill in 2000 which allowed the Board of Nursing licensees to raise their own fees in order to replace lost grant money. He asked about the outcome of that project. MS. SANDERS answered that she was not on the Board of Nursing when this event took place and so she was not familiar with the project. [SANDY PERRY-PROVOST, Lobbyist, Alaska Nurses Association, said she did not know the answer to Representative Rokeberg's question.] Number 0960 REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to report HB 74 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being no objections, HB 74 was reported from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.