Healthcare Providers Must Stay Current with State Legislative DevelopmentsBy Denise Burke, Jeff Parrish, Cati Lane Bailey | 03-02-2017
From town hall meetings across the country to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., the future of the Affordable Care Act is provoking heated discussion during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration. While it’s too early to tell if the next chapter of the ACA will be defined by “repeal and replace” or “retain and repair,” developments in the Tennessee statehouse could have a more immediate impact on healthcare providers in the Volunteer State.
The 2017 Tennessee legislative session is well under way, and more than 1,500 pieces of legislation have been proposed for consideration, including scores of proposals that would directly impact the state’s healthcare providers. Many of the healthcare-related proposals focus on opioid abuse, alcoholism, and drug dependence. Additionally, there are a number bills that focus on the expanding use of telehealth and telemedicine to support long-distance clinical healthcare. Other legislative proposals of particular note to healthcare providers include the following:
- SB 1204/HB 315 – Sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris and Rep. David Hawk, this bill would allow health professionals to be issued limited licenses of temporary duration if they have been out of clinical practice or inactive in their practice for an extended period of time. The bill would also require the chief administrative officer of a healthcare facility to report disciplinary action taken against any licensed healthcare provider to the provider's licensing board within 60 days of the disciplinary action.
- SB 943/HB 967 – Sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Matthew Hill, this bill would require supervising physicians to review personally at least 20 percent of charts monitored or written by certified nurse practitioners with 72 hours of the patient being seen by the certified nurse practitioner.
- SB 757/HB 898 – Sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Mark Pody, this bill would require healthcare providers to provide the estimated cost for a single procedure or episode of care with two business days of a request by a patient or prospective patient.
- SB 224/HB 338 – Sponsored by Sen. Kerry Roberts and Rep. Sabi Kumar, this bill would allow chiropractic physicians to enter into direct primary care agreements with individual patients or a patient’s legal representative. Currently, Tennessee law permits medical, surgical, or osteopathic physicians to enter into such agreements, and this bill would add chiropractic physicians.
- SB 425/HB 465 – Sponsored by Sen. John Stevens and Rep. Ron Travis, this bill would permit hospitals and renal dialysis clinics to employ radiologists, pathologists, anesthesiologists, and emergency room physicians under certain circumstances.
- SB 629/HB 1093 – Sponsored by Sen. Bo Watson and Rep. James VanHuss, this would direct the Tennessee Commissioner of Health, in consultation with the bureau of TennCare, to study and report on options for developing a plan for moving financially vulnerable rural hospitals more sustainable operations models.
It’s important for healthcare providers to stay abreast of the legislative proposals that are in play in the statehouse, and to make their concerns or support known to legislators as well as the administrative agencies that will be tasked with implementing legislation that becomes state law. These concerns can be conveyed to legislators directly, through professional organizations or by lobbyists engaged to represent the interests of individuals, companies or industry and professional groups.
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