Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
02/01/2016 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 151-DHSS CENT. REGISTRY; LICNSE; BCKGROUND CHK 2:03:09 PM CHAIR STEDMAN announced the consideration of SB 151. 2:03:54 PM STACIE KRALY, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Human Services Section, Department of Law, provided information on SB 151. She began with the historical context for SB 151 and why the statute was created. In 2005, the legislature debated and passed SB 125, the omnibus licensing bill which created AS 47.32. In addition to creating the centralized licensing statutes, the bill also established a new article under AS 47.05 related to criminal history and registry provisions. The initial impetus of adopting these statutes was to participate in a federal grant program related to background checks for persons providing long term care. Then, there was a desire to centralize and formalize the process by which DHSS conducted criminal background checks for entities and individuals who sought to be licensed providers or who are paid by DHSS. This would include persons who receive payment from Medicaid, foster parents, and assisted living home operators. MS. KRALY explained that a second component of SB 125 was to create a centralized registry so DHSS could rely on certain civil findings to bar persons from owning, operating, and being an administrator of certain licensed facilities. MS. KRALY related that over the past ten years, the system has worked well, but certain issues, gaps, and overlaps have been identified within the current statutes. These issues have come to the attention of the Department of Law through litigation, administrative hearings, and in providing day-to-day advice in how to interpret the statutes and apply them. She gave an example of Medicaid fraud being included under the central registry statute, when it should be governed by the criminal record check. MS. KRALY concluded that in an effort to be efficient back in 2005, the department did not anticipate some of the issues that would arise in the operationalization of the statutes. The changes in SB 151 are proposed to streamline the system to improve the proper application and fairness under the system going forward. CHAIR STEDMAN requested a sectional analysis. 2:07:15 PM MS. KRALY said Section 1 (page 1) amends 44.62.330 to clarify that the Office of Administrative Hearings would be limited to variances and reconsideration. SENATOR STOLTZE asked what "variance and reconsideration" means. MS. KRALY explained that it is a process that allows the person who has a barring condition to petition the department for a variance or reconsideration in order to explain what happened. If the committee decides to grant a variance the person may be authorized to apply for a license. If the variance is denied there is an appeal process. 2:08:29 PM MS. KRALY said Section 2 (pages 1-4) repeals and reenacts AS 47.05.310 to remove substantive references to the centralized registry under AS 47.05.330. This would alleviate confusion, inconsistencies, and redundancy between the two statutes. This section would further clarify that individuals, not entities, can seek a criminal background check and centralized registry check. Section 3 (pages 3-6) adds a new statute AS 47.05.325 to mirror the criminal background check statute (AS 47.05.310), primarily clarifying that the same individuals who would be subject to review under the criminal history check would also be subject to review under the centralized registry. This statute would further clarify what types of civil findings would constitute a bar and would clearly provide that only those bars that have been subject to due process through an administrative or court hearing would apply. This section would also add a paragraph that would include substantiations by the Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Children's Services and Adult Protective Services (reference to AS 47.17.040 and AS 47.24) as a bar. This bill makes other various edits and revisions to make the statute much more readable and streamlined. Section 4 (page 6) repeals and reenacts AS 47.05.330 to provide for the creation, by regulation, of the centralized registry. This registry would be the repository of both names and certain civil events and would be used to determine whether or not someone could be approved to own, operate, be employed of, or be paid by the State to provide services. This section separates out the actual registry from the substance and process set forth in section 3 of the bill. 2:10:44 PM MS. KRALY said Section 5 (page 7) amends AS 47.05.350 to limit the use of information obtained by an entity or individual as well as provide for immunity under this chapter for relying upon information gathered under this chapter, AS 47.05.310 and AS 47.05.325. Section 6 (page 7) Amends AS 47.05.360 to add a new section indicating how a person who gets a notice identifying a barring condition can request mistakes to be fixed, or to seek a variance or reconsideration. Section 7 (page 7) Amends AS 47.05.390 to amend the definition of "entity" under this chapter. Sections 8 (pages 7-8) Amends AS 47.17.040 to rename the registry used by the Office of Children's Services to avoid confusion. This section also clarifies that this registry will include substantiated findings of abuse or neglect established through the Department of Health and Social Services. This amendment further clarifies that this information can be used for licensing both in and out of this State and confirms the due process protections before placement on the central registry, which is a bar on the centralized registry under AS 47.05.330. 2:12:47 PM MS. KRALY said Section 9 (page 8) mends AS 47.17.040 to ensure that notice and opportunities for appeal are afforded to persons prior to placement on the child protection registry. This section also provides additional definitions. Section 10 (page 8) amends 47.32.070 to add a new subsection that allows licensing history to be considered in evaluating whether to license or place a condition on a license under AS 47.32. Section 11 (page 8-9) amends AS 47.32.090 to allow the Department of Health and Social Services to investigate an employee, contractor, or volunteer of a licensed entity and, if conduct that did not comply with licensing standard is substantiated, place the employee, contractor, or volunteer on the centralized registry. Currently, state law only allows the Department to investigate and issue findings against the entity íQRWDJDLQVWLQGLYLGXDOVZKRZRUNIRUWKHHQWity. 2:14:06 PM MS. KRALY said Section 12 (page 9) amends AS 47.32.150(b) to allow a person who is issued a fine as part of an enforcement action to have the right to appeal the fine. Section 13 (page 9) amends AS 47.32.180 to clarify that when there is a joint investigation of a licensed facility, the Department of Health and Social Services is allowed to share licensing information with a law enforcement agency, which may also be investigating a crime. Section 14 (page 9) amends AS 47.32.190 to clarify that any division of the Department of Health and Social Services who is responsible for licensing may gather and share information in order to implement this statute. The current version of the law limits sharing and access to the Divisions of Public Health and Public Assistance, which were the divisions who were responsible for licensing when this law went into effect. At this point, due to changes in organization, licensing is done by the Office of Children's Services, Division of Health Care Services and Public Assistance. This amendment simply allows those divisions who are responsible for licensing to access and share information to implement this chapter without reference to specific divisions. This provides the Department of Health and Social Services with flexibility to implement the chapter when they make organizational changes in the future. 2:15:41 PM MS. KRALY said Section 15 (page 10) repeals an unused definition in AS 47.05.390(l) and removes a plan of correction as an enforcement action from AS 47.32.140(d). Section 16 (page 10) provides for an applicability section to ensure that the criminal or civil conduct occurred before, on, or after the effective date of the Act is covered by these changes. Section 17 (page 10-11) adds instructions to the revisor of statutes to change headings in statute to conform to new language in the bill. Section 18 (page 11) provides for an immediate effective date. 2:16:32 PM SENATOR STOLTZE asked if the only a bar for licensure is if the person is convicted or adjudicated by reason of insanity. MS. KRALY explained that the statute provides that if a person has been charged with a crime, a conviction is the evidence a bar is based upon. SENATOR STOLTZE asked if it is based only on convictions, not on arrests, for example 20 arrests for domestic violence. MS. KRALY replied that is correct for the barring condition, however, under the current regulatory scheme for day care and foster care providers, there is a good judgement standard that would allow decisions to be made based on arrest information. SENATOR STOLTZE asked whether the fiscal note would be impacted by the passage of pending Court View legislation. MS. KRALY responded that the impact of Court View legislation on DHSS remains to be seen. It could create an issue, but during the process of licensing and other purposes, the arrest charges would be identified, but are not a barring condition. 2:20:18 PM CHAIR STEDMAN opened and then closed public testimony. CHAIR STEDMAN held SB 151 in committee.