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News & Press: Tennessee Tidbits

TENNESSEE TIDBITS: 2017 Legislative Session Recap

Tuesday, September 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amanda Wiedenfeld
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From Smith Harris & Carr

  • Medication aide legislation proposed by LA-Tn was passed in 2016, but the rule-making process grinds on. The rules have been approved through Board of Nursing and are now under review by Tennessee Attorney General’s office (since June 12), as required by the state law. Hopefully, the rules will be filed for a required public hearing in the near future, and there will also be a final review by the legislature’s Joint Government Operations Committee prior to implementation. (This committee meets monthly all year, not just during the legislative session.) Although we do not have a date for implementation, we are hopeful it will be by Jan. 1. In the meantime, a task force appointed by the LA-Tn board is developing a training program, which must ultimately be approved by the Board of Nursing in order to begin training medication aides.
  • PC (Public Chapter) 466 creates a new criminal offense of financial exploitation related to elderly adults, defined as those over 70.
  • PC 377 extends the nursing home assessment fee through the current fiscal year, requires that any excess collections are retained in the nursing home assessment trust fund account, and requires a supplemental transitional payment to nursing homes as a part of TennCare transition to a full acuity-based reimbursement system.
  • PC 420 creates a state palliative care and quality of life task force to be convened by Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.
  • PC 392 allows the Board of Pharmacy to establish a prescription drug donation program.
  • PC 349 allows disabled adults receiving Medicaid-reimbursed home and community based long term care services to utilize and self-direct paid personal aides. Required rule-making by TennCare must have input from various state agencies and the Tennessee Disability Coalition.
  • PC 276 revises the adult day care licensure statute from a minimum number of ten adult participants to a minimum number of five adults. Although this bill was presented as a way for smaller programs to seek licensure and apply for funding, there are some concerns about the lower minimum, which will require licensing. There is a provision in current law that allows the Commissioner of Human Services (the department which licenses these programs) to waive licensure when the program is run by an entity that is already a licensed health care provider. However, we believe there has never been such a waiver requested or granted. The LA board will consider seeking clarifying legislation in 2018, if necessary.
  • PC 242 excludes independent living facilities from regulation by the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities, sets inspection schedules for licensed health care facilities at every 15 months for adult care homes, ambulatory surgical treatment centers, assisted care living facilities, homes for the aged, hospice, hospitals, nursing homes, and TBI residential homes. Also prohibits residential homes for aged from administering medications to residents except utilizing an employed or contracted physician, nurse, or physician assistant.
  • The above Public Chapters may be accessed in full on the Secretary of State’s website
  • Several pieces of legislation that did not pass were being tracked on behalf of Leading Age members. These bills will remain pending during the 2018 legislative session, which begins on January 9, because it is the second year of the two year term of the 110th General Assembly.

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