Legislature(2009 - 2010)

04/17/2010 11:39 AM Senate FIN

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 50(FIN)                                                                                                 
     "An Act relating to limitations on mandatory overtime                                                                      
     for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in                                                                     
     health care facilities; and providing for an effective                                                                     
Co-Chair  Stedman noted  it  was the  first  hearing on  the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PEGGY WILSON,  SPONSOR,  explained that  the                                                                    
purpose of the bill is to  make sure nurses get enough rest.                                                                    
Nurses  are  working  excessive hours  without  enough  rest                                                                    
which creates  an unsafe work  environment for  patients and                                                                    
for  nurses.  The  bill would  create  a  standardized  work                                                                    
environment across  the state.  The bill has  provisions for                                                                    
emergencies, inclement  weather, natural disasters,  and on-                                                                    
going procedures.  She shared information  about legislation                                                                    
in  other   states,  of  which   15  have   adopted  similar                                                                    
requirements.  The legislation  sets  a  14-hour work  limit                                                                    
with a  10 hour rest  period. She maintained that  nurses in                                                                    
Alaska  are working  excessive hours  of  overtime, most  of                                                                    
which  are  mandated.  Nurses from  throughout  Alaska  have                                                                    
provided  testimony that  this  legislation  is needed.  She                                                                    
noted   that  her   staff  was   prepared  to   explain  the                                                                    
differences  between the  Senate and  House versions  of the                                                                    
bill. She urged the committee to move the bill.                                                                                 
12:01:28 PM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman noted  three  zero fiscal  notes from  the                                                                    
Department   of  Health   and   Social   Services  and   one                                                                    
indeterminate  note   from  the  Department  of   Labor  and                                                                    
Workforce Development.  He said that  the bill is not  a new                                                                    
12:02:31 PM                                                                                                                   
JOHN BRINGHURST,  ADMINISTRATOR, PETERSBURG  MEDICAL CENTER,                                                                    
PETERSBURG (via teleconference),  testified in opposition to                                                                    
HB 50. He listed reasons for  his concerns. He thought HB 50                                                                    
contained  onerous  reporting   requirements.  He  explained                                                                    
mandatory call, which is used  to staff emergency rooms. The                                                                    
bill  would force  the end  of mandatory  call and  cost the                                                                    
hospital around $470,000 a year.                                                                                                
Senator Olson referred  to page 3 of the  bill, an exemption                                                                    
for  rural communities,  and asked  if Petersburg  qualifies                                                                    
for  it.  Mr.  Bringhurst  understood that  it  exempts  the                                                                    
hospital for short periods only.                                                                                                
12:05:58 PM                                                                                                                   
RYAN SMITH,  CEO, CENTRAL PENINSULA HOSPITAL,  SOLDOTNA (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified in opposition  to the bill, which                                                                    
he termed a labor bill. He  explained that the bill has many                                                                    
patient exclusions and  only contains reporting requirements                                                                    
for  hospitals,  not  nurses. He  also  discussed  mandatory                                                                    
overtime.  He  predicted  unintended consequences  from  the                                                                    
12:07:50 PM                                                                                                                   
EVANGELYN DOTOMAIN,  PRESIDENT &  CEO, ALASKA  NATIVE HEALTH                                                                    
BOARD  (via  teleconference),  spoke   against  HB  50.  She                                                                    
understood that  her organization has an  exemption from the                                                                    
legislation; however, she thought  the bill would change the                                                                    
market conditions  of nursing and have  repercussions in the                                                                    
12:09:53 PM                                                                                                                   
NANCY DAVIS, PRESIDENT,  ALASKA NURSES ASSOCIATION, stressed                                                                    
that  patient safety  is the  primary benefit  of HB  50, in                                                                    
addition to benefits to nurses.  She testified in support of                                                                    
HB 50 from a nurse's viewpoint.                                                                                                 
12:11:35 PM                                                                                                                   
ROD  BETIT, CEO,  ALASKA STATE  HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION,  spoke                                                                    
against  the legislation.  He  reported that  26  out of  27                                                                    
facilities in the  state do not support the  bill. He agreed                                                                    
that safety  was a  prime concern  for his  organization. He                                                                    
disagreed with items in the bill.                                                                                               
12:13:09 PM                                                                                                                   
LAUREE  HUGONIN  MORTON,   JUNEAU,  maintained  that  nurses                                                                    
should  not  work extensive  hours.  She  shared a  personal                                                                    
experience. She testified  in support of HB  50. She thought                                                                    
the limit of hours worked should be eight.                                                                                      
12:16:50 PM                                                                                                                   
MARY STACKHOUSE,  REGISTERED NURSE, JUNEAU,  shared personal                                                                    
experiences. She spoke strongly in favor of HB 50.                                                                              
12:19:02 PM                                                                                                                   
DEBBIE   THOMPSON,   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,   ALASKA   NURSES                                                                    
ASSOCIATION, urged the committee to  pass the bill. She read                                                                    
a  paragraph from  a newspaper  article which  supported her                                                                    
12:20:07 PM                                                                                                                   
BARBARA HUFF  TUCKNESS, TEAMSTERS LOCAL 959,  spoke in favor                                                                    
of  HB  50. She  requested  that  all nurses  and  physician                                                                    
assistants receive protection  through collective bargaining                                                                    
HB  50  was   heard  and  HELD  in   Committee  for  further                                                                    
AT-EASE        12:21:56 PM                                                                                                    
RECONVENED     1:43:28 PM                                                                                                     

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