Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/11/2003 01:35 PM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          SB 160-CIVIL LIABILITY FOR DEFIBRILLATOR USE                                                                      
CHAIR FRED DYSON  called the Senate Health,  Education and Social                                                             
Services  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  1:35  p.m.                                                               
Present were SENATORS  WILKEN, GREEN, and DAVIS.  He announced SB
160 to be up for consideration.                                                                                                 
SENATOR  DONNY  OLSON,  sponsor,   said  this  legislation  would                                                               
provide  faster  treatment  for Alaskans  who  suffer  a  cardiac                                                               
arrest   by  making   automatic  external   defibrillators  (AED)                                                               
increasingly  available. Each  year,  250,000 people  die in  the                                                               
United States  as a result of  a sudden cardiac arrest.  The most                                                               
important  treatment for  more  than half  of  them is  immediate                                                               
defibrillation.  For  each minute  a  person  remains in  cardiac                                                               
arrest, that  person's chance of  ultimate survival  is decreased                                                               
by   approximately   7  to   10   percent.   AEDs  have   evolved                                                               
significantly over  the last couple  of years and are  much safer                                                               
and  easier to  use. AEDs  have  the ability  to discern  between                                                               
shockable  and non-shockable  rhythms; it's  literally impossible                                                               
to shock a person who doesn't require it.                                                                                       
Businesses and municipalities are  interested in making more AEDs                                                               
available  in  the  workplace in  locations  where  large  groups                                                               
gather. Currently, the Good Samaritan  provision under Alaska law                                                               
gives immunity  from civil  liability for  any person  trained to                                                               
use  the  AED,  but  this   immunity  does  not  apply  to  those                                                               
individuals in organizations that  make devices accessible in the                                                               
workplace. As a result, these  devices have not been made readily                                                               
available. SB 160  removes that impediment by  extending the Good                                                               
Samaritan immunity to owners and  operators of public and private                                                               
SENATOR  OLSON said  he  became aware  there  was some  confusion                                                               
about page 2, lines 10-26 and  he has an amendment that makes the                                                               
language clearer.                                                                                                               
SENATOR LYDA GREEN moved to adopt Amendment 1, Ford-A.2.                                                                        
                      A M E N D M E N T  1                                                                                  
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                           
     TO:  SB 160                                                                                                                
Page 2, lines 10 - 26:                                                                                                          
     Delete all material and insert:                                                                                            
               "(4)  provide appropriate training in the use of                                                                 
     the  device  to an  employee  or  agent  of the  person  who                                                               
     acquires  or provides  the device;  however, this  paragraph                                                               
     does  not   apply  and  immunity  is   provided  under  this                                                               
     subsection  if the  period of  time elapsing  between hiring                                                               
     the person  as an  employee or agent  and the  occurrence of                                                               
     the harm, or  between the acquisition of the  device and the                                                               
     occurrence of the  harm in any case in which  the device was                                                               
     acquired  after hiring  the employee  or agent,  was not  in                                                               
     excess of six months.                                                                                                      
          (c)  The immunity provided by (b) of this section does                                                                
     not  apply  to  a  manufacturer  of  an  automated  external                                                               
Reletter the following subsection accordingly.                                                                                  
There were no objections and Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                           
MS.  JESSICA ETHRIDGE,  staff to  Senator Olson,  added that  the                                                               
intent is not to provide immunity for the manufacturer.                                                                         
MR.  MARK   JOHNSON,  Community  Health  and   Emergency  Medical                                                               
Services, DHSS, supported SB 160.                                                                                               
MS. JENNIFER APP, Advocacy  Director, American Heart Association,                                                               
supported SB  160. "In the  Heart Association's development  of a                                                               
four-part chain of  survival, access to defibrillation  is one of                                                               
the most important and most significant pieces of that chain."                                                                  
She said if  someone goes into cardiac arrest, it's  only 8 to 10                                                               
minutes before there's no chance of survival.                                                                                   
SENATOR GREEN commented that the  instructions on the devices are                                                               
easy for a person to understand.                                                                                                
MS. APP said this bill  removes the requirement for an individual                                                               
to be trained  in the use of  the AED, but it  is incredibly easy                                                               
to use.                                                                                                                         
SENATOR GARY WILKEN asked how much a machine costs.                                                                             
MS. APP replied that it costs around $800.                                                                                      
CHAIR DYSON asked what kind of servicing the machines need.                                                                     
MS. APP answered that they  need regular maintenance to make sure                                                               
the  batteries  are being  charged  and  that the  AED  providers                                                               
(actual manufacturers) do yearly check-ups.                                                                                     
SENATOR  BETTYE DAVIS  moved CSSB  160(HES)  from committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations  and its  attached fiscal  note. There                                                               
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       

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