Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/20/2017 03:15 PM House LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HJR 14 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HJR 14-FCC: INCREASE RURAL HEALTH CARE BUDGET                                                                      
3:18:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO  announced that  the first order  of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 14, Urging the  Federal Communications                                                              
Commission  to  increase  the Rural  Health  Care  Program  budget                                                              
sufficiently to  adjust for inflation, advances in  technology and                                                              
the  services   available  with   increased  broadband,   and  the                                                              
increase in  demand for broadband-based  services and  provide for                                                              
any unused  funds to be carried  forward to future  funding years,                                                              
ensuring  that rural  communities in  the state  continue to  have                                                              
access to affordable broadband telehealth services.                                                                             
3:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  CLARK,  Staff,  Representative  Bryce  Edgmon,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature, advised  that HJR 14 requests that the  FCC raise the                                                              
budget  for  the  Rural Health  Care  Universal  Services  Support                                                              
Program.   The  budget  has been  capped at  $400  million for  20                                                              
years  now,  but   with  the  increase  in  the   exploitation  of                                                              
broadband, increase  of technologies  available, and  the increase                                                              
on  the   state  side  with   using  telemedicine  to   make  more                                                              
healthcare  services available  at  the local  level, has  brought                                                              
the  healthcare  providers close  to  reaching that  $400  million                                                              
annual cap, and the time has come to raise that budget.                                                                         
3:20:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KITO asked whether the $400 million is nationwide.                                                                        
MR. CLARK answered in the affirmative.                                                                                          
[Public  testimony  on HJR  14 had  remained  open  from the  last                                                              
3:20:33 PM                                                                                                                    
RACHEL  GEARHART, Clinical  Director, Juneau  Alliance for  Mental                                                              
Health,  Inc.,  Alaska  Chapter  National  Association  of  Social                                                              
Workers,  advised that  she is  the Clinical  Director for  Juneau                                                              
Alliance  for  Mental  Health, Inc.,  (JAMHI)  which  is  Juneau's                                                              
community behavioral  health center for adults, and  it constantly                                                              
sees roughly  400 outpatients  for mental  health services  at any                                                              
given time.   The  catchment area  includes the small  communities                                                              
of Gustavus,  Tenakee Springs, and  Elfin Cove, and it  works with                                                              
USAK to offer  tele-behavioral services to those  communities, and                                                              
it  also partners  with  the  Sitka  Hospital using  equipment  to                                                              
provide   medical  services   to  folks   in  those   communities.                                                              
Additionally,  the Juneau  Alliance for Mental  Health is  working                                                              
with the  Rural Veterans Health  Access Program (RVHAP)  utilizing                                                              
federal  Health  Resources  and   Services  Administration  (HRSA)                                                              
funds to create  access to veterans across the state.   Using this                                                              
tele-behavioral health  equipment is extremely vital  for JAMHI to                                                              
reach  the many veterans  spread  across the  state, and they  are                                                              
sometimes either  unwilling or unable to come  into more populated                                                              
communities  and  access  services.   Particularly  important  for                                                              
Juneau Alliance  for Mental  Health (JAMHI)  is that its  services                                                              
are known  throughout the  state, and  it has  been able  to serve                                                              
people  discharged from  the  Alaska Psychiatric  Institute  after                                                              
going  home to  their communities.   However,  she said,  patients                                                              
may  be related  to everyone  at  their home  community clinic  so                                                              
they can receive  counseling from an agency in  another community,                                                              
with no  connection to anyone working  in the clinic,  using their                                                              
smart  phone, or  iPad.   Personally, she  said, as  a citizen  of                                                              
Juneau  and a  member of  the mental  health  field, she  strongly                                                              
encouraged the committee to pass this important legislation.                                                                    
3:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER  HARRISON,   Eastern  Aleutian  Tribes,   reiterated  the                                                              
testimony of the  previous speaker and said its  Rural Health Care                                                              
Universal.  Service  Support  Program  enables  the  provision  of                                                              
healthcare  providers in  the most  remote  communities of  Alaska                                                              
offering   telehealth    services   that   dramatically    improve                                                              
(coughing).   Due to  telehealth behavior  services they  are able                                                              
to provide  psychiatric services  to villages  with less  than 100                                                              
people.      Psychiatrists   are   rare  in   Alaska   and   child                                                              
psychiatrists  are  even  more rare,  she  stressed,  but  Eastern                                                              
Aleutian  Tribes successfully  have a contract  with Orion  Health                                                              
to  provide  child  psychiatric   services  to  Alaska's  smallest                                                              
villages.   She  reiterated  the importance  of  this program  and                                                              
offered support.                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO,  after ascertaining no  one wished to  testify, closed                                                              
public testimony on HJR 14.                                                                                                     
3:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  moved to report HJR 14,  Version 30-LS0422\J,                                                              
out  of   committee  with   individual  recommendations   and  the                                                              
accompanying  fiscal  notes.  There  being no  objection,  HJR  14                                                              
passed from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR014 Supporting Documents Index 3.17.17.pdf HL&C 3/20/2017 3:15:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR014 Supporting Documents-Support Letters 3.17.17.pdf HL&C 3/20/2017 3:15:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR014 Supporting Documents-Universal Service Disbursements 2015 3.20.17.pdf HL&C 3/20/2017 3:15:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR014 Supporting Documents-Universal Services Fact Sheet 3.17.17.pdf HL&C 3/20/2017 3:15:00 PM
HJR 14