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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

Public Chapter 37

This act prohibits agencies subject to sunset review from promulgating rules or adopting policies to exempt members solely by virtue of their status as members.

This act took effect March 23, 2021.

Public Chapter 62

This act was one of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ legislative initiatives, relative to revising requirements on death reporting. Among other requirements, this act requires the mental health facility to notify the office of the medical examiner having jurisdiction upon discovery of a death as soon as reasonably possible, but no longer than 12 hours after the discovery of the death. The act also clarifies that licensed healthcare providers listed under additional titles in Tennessee Code Annotated (such as title 68) can practice telemedicine.

This act took effect March 29, 2021.

Public Chapter 153

This act creates a new definition of “store-and-forward telemedicine services” to include the use of asynchronous computer-based communications between the healthcare provider and the patient for the purpose of diagnoses, consultation, or treatment of a patient at a distant site where there may be no in-person exchange.

This act took effect April 13, 2021.

Public Chapter 179

This act authorizes unlicensed graduates of certain medical training programs to provide telehealth services, provided they maintain the same existing standards for telehealth that licensed providers must meet.

This act took effect April 20, 2021.

Public Chapter 197

This act requires the Department of Health and other agencies to seek federal, private, or other available funding for the development of substance use disorder recovery programs. It also requires the agencies to report by February 15th of each year to the legislature the amount of funds they’ve applied for relative to substance use disorder programs, as well as recommendations to statute changes to develop recovery programs. Lastly, the report must include any benefits realized from these programs.

This act took effect April 22, 2021.

Public Chapter 230

This act revises the definition of marijuana to clarify that it does not include a product approved as a prescription by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This act took effect April 22, 2021.

Public Chapter 242

This act authorizes records custodians to petition a court for injunctive relief from individuals making frequent public records requests with the intent of disrupting government operations, following a fifth (5th) public records request. A records custodian can only petition a court if they notify the person in writing stating the specific conduct may constitute intent to disrupt government operations, and that the person continues to do so. The individual upon a court enjoinment would not be able to make public requests at the agency for up to one (1) year.

This chapter took effect April 28th, 2021 and will sunset July 1, 2025.

 

Public Chapter 291

This act requires the attorney general and reporter to not approve an emergency rule if the emergency rule does not meet the statutory criteria for adoption of the rule.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 309

This act is a follow up to legislation from 2018, relative to authorizing local governments and municipalities to adopt ordinances for sober living homes. In doing so, this act enacts new provisions for alcohol and drug prevention and/or treatment facilities (ADTF’s), creates a new definition for ADTF’s that specifically excludes the department of health, and requires the department of mental health and substance abuse services to maintain a list of nationally recognized recovery residence standards organizations, or grantees of a state or federal agency, on its website. Alcohol and drug services, in this act, includes services that receive funds from the department of health or assess fees for services.

This act will take effect July 1, 2022.

 

Public Chapter 328

This act requires that starting December 1, 2023, state agencies submit a report of their effective rules to the chairs of the government operations committee every eight (8) years. The report is required to include a brief description of the department’s operations that each chapter affects, as well as each rule and its administrative history, which would include the original promulgated date and the dates the rule was last amended, if applicable. Additionally, the report would include a determination of each rule on whether it is adheres to current state or federal law or court rulings, should be amended or repealed, reviewed further, or continue in effect without amendment. Lastly, if there are any intentionally false statements in the report, the government operations committee would have the ability to vote to request the general assembly to remove a rule or suspend the department’s rulemaking authority for any reasonable period of time.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 357

This act authorizes an exception to existing telehealth requirements governing healthcare providers in Tennessee. In doing so, it allows individuals licensed in another state to practice telehealth in Tennessee while providing healthcare services on a volunteer basis through a free clinic.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

 

Public Chapter 453

This act requires public or private entities or businesses that operate a building open to the general public to post signage regarding public restroom access in certain situations. Specifically, this applies to entities or businesses that have restroom policies allowing either biological sex to use any public restroom within their building. The act includes requirements for language, size, location, and even color for the signage.  The act excludes unisex, single occupant restrooms or family restrooms intended for use by either sex.  

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 491

This act is known as the “Tennessee Opioid Abatement Act” to facilitate all opioid settlements from state and local government claims against entities involved in the making, distribution, dispensing, or sale of opioids and related activities. In doing so, the Opioid Abatement Fund is created by this act, and directs all funds from these settlements to be sent to the fund. It also creates the Opioid Abatement Council, who will oversee the fund and direct how it is spent, specifically for abatement and remediation programs.

This act took effect May 24, 2021.

Public Chapter 531

This act limits an agency’s authority to promulgate rules without a public hearing.   There are exceptions to the public hearing requirement.  These exceptions include emergency rules, rules that are nonsubstantive modifications to existing rules (like clerical updates), rules that repeal existing rule, or rules that eliminate or reduce a fee described by an existing rule.

This act took effect July 1, 2021.

Public Chapter 532

This act authorizes the joint government operations committee to stay an agency’s rule from going into effect for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days. If the government operations committee determines that subsequent stays are necessary, then the joint committee may issue consecutive stays, each for an additional ninety (90) day period, so long as such stays do not extend beyond the fifth legislative day of the year following the year in which the rule is filed with the secretary of state. The initial stay may be done by either the house or senate government operations committee, but subsequent stays must be by agreement by the committees of both chambers.  A stay is effective when the respective committee files written notice with the secretary of state, and the respective committee shall specify the length of effectiveness of the stay.

This act took effect May 25, 2021.

Public Chapter 577

This public chapter establishes the medical cannabis commission which is administratively attached to the department of health for purposes of budgeting, audit, use of IT systems, HR support, clerical assistance and administrative support.  The commission is composed of 9 members.  The Governor appoints 3 members (1 from each grand division), the Lt. Governor appoints 3 members (1 must be a physician and 1 a pharmacist), and the Speaker of the House appoints 3 members (1 must be a physician and 1 a pharmacist).  The commission must be impaneled and hold its first meeting by October 1, 2021.  The commission is required to meet at least once every two months prior to March 2023.  The commission shall appoint an executive director.

The commission is to examine federal laws and other states’ laws regarding medical use of cannabis, including issues relating to patient qualification, patient registration, role of practitioners in recommending/prescribing, establishing guidelines for acceptable medical uses, development of a standard of care, etc.

This act took effect May 27, 2021.

**These are general summaries of legislation.  For more detailed information and all specifics/requirements, please review the links to each public chapter**

Public Chapter 611

This law requires an agency holding a public hearing as part of its rulemaking process, to make copies of the rule available in “redline form” to people attending the hearing. 

This took effect July 1, 2018.

 Public Chapter 675

This act requires the department of health to accept allegations of opioid abuse or diversion and for the department to publicize a means of reporting allegations. 

Any entity that prescribes, dispenses, OR handles opioids is required to provide information to employees about reporting suspected opioid abuse/diversion.  That notice is to either be provided individually to the employee in writing and documented by the employer OR by posting a sign in a conspicuous, non-public area of minimum height and width
stating: “NOTICE: PLEASE REPORT ANY SUSPECTED ABUSE OR DIVERSION OF OPIOIDS, OR ANY OTHER IMPROPER BEHAVIOR WITH RESPECT TO OPIOIDS, TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH'S COMPLAINT INTAKE LINE: 800-852-2187.”

Whistleblower protections are also established.  An individual who makes a report in good faith may not be terminated or suffer adverse licensure action solely based on the report.  The individual also is immune from any civil liability related to a good faith report. 

This act takes effect January 1, 2019.

 Public Chapter 744

This statute allows a licensing entity the discretion to not suspend/deny/revoke a license in cases where the licensee has defaulted or become delinquent on student loans IF a medical hardship significantly contributed to the default or delinquency.

This act takes effect January 1, 2019.

Public Chapter 745 and Public Chapter 793

These public chapters work together to create and implement the “Fresh Start Act.”  Licensing authorities are prohibited from denying an application or renewal for a license/certificate/registration due to a prior criminal conviction that does not directly relate to the applicable occupation.  Lays out the requirements on the licensing authorities as well as the exceptions to the law (ex: rebuttable presumption regarding A and B level felonies). 

These acts took effect July 1, 2018.

Public Chapter 754

This chapter prevents any board, commission, committee, etc. created by statute from promulgating rules, issuing  statements, or issuing intra-agency memoranda that infringe on an entity member’s freedom of speech. 

Freedom of speech includes, but is not limited to, a member’s freedom to express an opinion concerning any matter relating to that governmental entity, excludingmatters deemed to be confidential under TCA 10-7-504.

Violations as determined by a joint evaluation committee may result in recommendations to the general assembly concerning the entity’s sunset status, rulemaking authority and funding.

This act took effect April 18, 2018.

Public Chapter 855

Prohibits alcohol and drug treatment facilities (ADTF), healthcare providers and healthcare facilities from certain practices in regard to solicitation and marketing of alcohol and drug treatment services. 

This act took effect July 1, 2018.

Public Chapter 929

This act redefines policy and rule and requires each agency to submit a list of all policies, with certain exceptions, that have been adopted or changed in the previous year to the chairs of the government operations committees on July 1 of each year.  The submission shall include a summary of the policy and the justification for adopting a policy instead of a rule.

This act also prohibits any policy or rule by any agency that infringes upon an agency member’s freedom of speech. 

Finally, this act establishes that an agency’s appointing authority shall have the sole power to remove a member from a board, committee, etc.

This act took effect July 1, 2018 and applies to policies adopted on or after that date.

Public Chapter 954

This legislation requires the initial licensure fee for low-income persons to be waived.  Low income individuals per the
statute are defined as persons who are enrolled in a state or federal public assistance program including but not limited to TANF, Medicaid, and SNAP.  All licensing authorities are required to promulgate rules to effectuate the purposes of this act. 

This act takes effect January 1, 2019.

 Public Chapter 1021

This act allows for appeals of contested case hearings to be in the Chancery Court nearest the residence of the person contesting the agency action or at that person’s discretion, in the Chancery Court nearest the place the action arose,
or in the Chancery Court of Davidson County.  Petitions seeking review must be filed within 60 days after entry of the
agency’s final order. 

This act took effect July 1, 2018.