The legislation would also allow hospitals or nursing facilities to temporarily hire people without obtaining a background check, under some circumstances. “The amount charged by a healthcare provider for services provided under this section must be reasonable and consistent with the ordinary fees typically charged for that service and may not be more than the ordinary fees typically charged for that service,” read the bill. After the addition of the amendments, the bill advanced out of the Senate with a 13-3 vote on Friday, with a few senators who voted yes saying they believed the state House of Representatives will remove many of the vaccine-related elements before passing it.
WHY IT MATTERS However, senators then introduced three amendments aimed at allowing residents to avoid COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
The telehealth-related portion of SB 3006, which was introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy earlier this month, would temporarily allow some clinicians to write prescriptions without first conducting an in-person exam. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the original bill only concerned COVID-19-related temporary changes to telehealth and background check policies.
According to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Coronavirus Response Hub, 56.5% of state residents over the age of 12 are vaccinated. Currently, about 80% of the state’s ICU beds are occupied, with COVID-19 hospitalized patients at a reported all-time high. As of Sunday, the state had 277 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. THE LARGER TREND The third bans businesses, state agencies and local governments from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination “to access an area or service that is open to the public,” according to the Anchorage Daily News’ James Brooks.
The second amendment says a person can object to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine on religious, medical or philosophical grounds. The first of those would require anyone who requires proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to accept a positive antibody test or a positive COVID-19 test. (Although the amendment did not specify, it is presumed that the person should no longer be contagious from said positive COVID-19 result.)
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