Board of Dispensing Opticians


If you wish to review any of the following Public Chapters in their entirety, please visit:

Noteworthy Health-Related Legislation

·         The Department of Health’s administration bill successfully extended current opioid prescription protections that were put into place in 2018 under the Tennessee Together Act.

·         The Department of Health was extended to June 30, 2027, following an audit and subsequent sunset hearings.

·         Multiple boards administratively attached to the Department of Health were extended by the legislature following audits and subsequent sunset hearings.

Non-Health Related Legislative Activity of Note

·         June 19th is now designated as a state holiday for Juneteenth.

·         State employees are authorized to use sick leave from a sick leave bank to care for a sick minor child of the employee.

·         State employees must be provided six paid weeks of leave for the birth of the employee’s child or because of the employee’s adoption of a child.

·         “Send Me” is now an additional state motto.

·         The legislature passed an extensive transportation modernization act.

·         The legislature passed a teacher paycheck protection act that, among other things, raises the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 by 2026.

·         Law enforcement officers and the district attorney general’s office may extend criminal immunity to persons who are experiencing a drug overdose and who are seeking medical assistance.

Pertinent Public Chapters

*All Public Chapters are hyperlinked to the actual document on the Secretary of State’s website.

Public Chapter No. 1—SB1/HB1—Johnson/Lamberth

This law prohibits a healthcare provider from knowingly performing or offering to perform on a minor, or administer or offer to administer to a minor, a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with or live as an identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex. This bill does not prohibit such medical procedure if the performance or administration is to treat a minor’s congenital defect, precocious puberty, disease, or physical injury or the medical procedure began prior to the effective date of this act and concludes on or before March 31, 2024. This law also prohibits a person from knowingly providing a

hormone or puberty blocker by any means to a minor if the provision of the hormone or puberty blocker is not in compliance with this bill. This bill is effective on July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 2—SB3/HB9—Johnson/Todd

This law creates a Class A misdemeanor offense for a person to perform adult cabaret entertainment on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret entertainment could be viewed by a person who is not an adult. Subsequent offenses are Class E felonies. This bill was effective on April 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 24—SB248/HB66—Johnson/Lamberth

This law authorized the Department of Intellectual and Development Disabilities to provide home health services to outpatients through its administration of the Tennessee Early Intervention System and the home and community-based services provided through such system. This bill was effective on March 10, 2023. This law was a DIDD legislative initiative.

Public Chapter No. 36—SB23/HB17—Massey/Faison

This law designates the month of May as “Silver Alert Awareness Month.” This bill was effective on March 14, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 41—SB256/HB75—Johnson/Lamberth

This law allows law enforcement or the district attorney general’s office to extend criminal immunity from being arrested, charged, or prosecuted to persons who are experiencing a subsequent drug overdose. This bill takes effect on July 1, 2023. This was a Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse’s legislative initiative.


Public Chapter No. 55—SB680/HB895—Reeves/Hurt

This law clarifies that the Medical Assistance Act of 1968 does not require a vendor, healthcare provider, or telehealth provider group that provides healthcare services exclusively via telehealth to have a physical address or site in this state in order to eb eligible to enroll as a vendor, provider, or provider group for that program. This law defines telehealth provider as two or more healthcare providers that share a common employer and provide healthcare services exclusively via telehealth. This law was effective on March 21, 2023.

Public Chapter No.114—SB255/HB74—Johnson/Lamberth

This law changes the terms "general education development credential," "high school equivalency test," and variations of the terms to "high school equivalency credential” as referenced throughout the code. This law also replaces any references in code from GED(R) or HiSET(R) classes, coursework, testing, or services with the phrase “adult education programming to include preparation and testing toward obtaining a high school equivalency credential” throughout the code. This law is effective on July 1, 2023.This was a Department of Labor and Workforce Development legislative initiative.

Public Chapter No.150—SB523/HB495— Jackson/Martin

This bill enacts the "Topical Medical Waste Reduction Act of 2023," which allows facilities, defined as a hospital operating room, hospital emergency room department, or ambulatory surgical treatment center, to offer a patient an unused portion of certain medications required for continuing treatment upon discharge when the medication was ordered at least 24 hours in advance for surgical procedures and is administered to the patient at the facility. If a medication is used in an operating room or emergency department setting, then the prescriber shall counsel the patient on a medications proper use and administration, and the requirement of pharmacist counseling is waived. This law was effective on April 13, 2023.

Public Chapter No.156—SB40/HB206—Roberts/Ragan

This law extends the Department of Health to June 30, 2027. This law was effective on April 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No.157—SB86HB734—Walley/Rudd

This law clarifies that a person requesting public records is not entitled to special or expedited access to those records based on their occupation or association with a profession. This law was effective on April 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 168—SB600/HB90—Hensley/Moody

This law prohibits counties, municipalities, and metropolitan governments from expending funds for the purpose of assisting a person in obtaining a criminal abortion. This prohibition includes using funds as part of a health benefit plan or for travel to another state for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. This law was effective on April 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 188—SB277/HB325—Johnson/Lamberth

This law extends legislation enacted in 2018 to preserve opioid prescription limitations for acute care. In addition, this law exempts individuals who had recent cancer treatment from this prescription limitation. “Recent cancer treatment” is defined as six months following the end of an active cancer treatment. This law creates an exception for informed consent where a healthcare practitioner who issued the initial prescription does not have to obtain and document informed consent, if the subsequent prescription is for the same opioid and for the same episode of treatment. Outside of this exception, informed consent must be updated periodically. This law also requires the Commissioner of the Department of Health to provide a letter, in consultation with the health-related boards, no to certain elected officials that includes information on the impact and the effects of this legislation in each even-numbered year. This law was effective on April 24, 2023. This law was a Department of Health legislative initiative.

Public Chapter 190—SB350/HB294—Campbell/Freeman

This law creates the “Save Tennessee Students Act” and requires public institutions of higher education to include, among other thing, the telephone number of the suicide and crisis lifeline on student identification cards for students enrolled in the institution. This law takes effect July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 201—SB721/HB498—Massey/Martin

This law exempts a patient who is receiving an initial behavioral health evaluation or assessment from the requirement from an in-person encounter between the health care service provider, the healthcare services provider's practice group, or the healthcare system and the patient to be within sixteen months prior to the interactive visit. This law also authorizes a physician assistant who is authorized to prescribe drugs and who provides services solely via telehealth to arrange for chart review by a collaborating physician via HIAA-compliant electronic means. This law was effective on April 24, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 203—SB799/HB859—Yarbro/Jernigan

This law authorizes the Department of Health to disclose de-identified data that is collected from EMS run reports for the purpose of providing opioid overdose response and resources throughout this state. This law was effective on April 24, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 211—SB1451/HB1312—Roberts/Kumar

This law authorizes the Board of Medical Examiners to issue temporary license for two years to international medical school graduates who meet certain criteria. An international medical school graduate must only provide medical services at a healthcare provider that has in place a post-graduate training program accredited by the accreditation council for graduate medical education. The Board must grant a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine to a temporary licensee who is in good standing two years after the date of temporary licensure. The Board of Medical Examiners will need to promulgate rules for this public chapter. For the purpose of promulgating rules, this rule was effective on April 24, 2023. For all other purposes, this law takes effect July 1, 2024.

Public Chapter No. 216—SB276/HB324—Johnson/Lamberth

This law makes various changes to current law pertaining to leave for state employees. Among other things, this law allows an eligible employee to be granted absence from work with pay for a period of time equal to six workweeks because of the birth of the employee’s child or because of the placement of a child with the employee for adoption. This law is effective on July 1, 2023, and applies to eligible employees who qualify for leave on or after July 1, 2023. This was one of Governor Lee’s legislative initiatives.

Public Chapter No. 244—SB1392/HB1213—McNally/Sexton

This law makes changes to the “Tennessee Right to Shop Act” and changes the structure of certain insurance incentives and out of pocket payments. This law takes effect July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 252—SB221/HB273—Roberts/Terry

This law requires the division of health-related boards to consult with the Board of Medical Examiners in the hiring of a medical consultant. This law also gives the medical consultant authority to consult on various issues and to work with the board’s attorney on certain portions of the complaint and settlement process. Additionally, the division must provide biannual surveys to the Board for its feedback and review of the consultant. This law authorizes the Board to promulgate rules to effectuate this process. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 265—SB669/HB0981—Reeves/Faison

This law vacates and reconstitutes the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Board, as of July 1, 2023. This law staggers the initial terms of appointment so that a portion of new members must be appointed in each year for the next four years. Members serving on the Board as of June 30, 2023, may be reappointed to the new Board. After the initial round of appointments, the terms of appointment expand to four years. Additionally, this law also makes various changes to the qualifications for candidates being considered as an appointment for the Board. For purposes of promulgating rules and carrying out administrative duties, this law was effective on April 28, 2023. For all other purposes, this law takes effect on June 30, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 270—SB859/HB982—Reeves/Terry

This law protects a person's statement regarding the use or possession of marijuana to a healthcare provider through the course of a person's medical care for the purpose of obtaining medical advice on the adverse effects of marijuana with other medications or medical treatments. Under this law, such statement is not admissible as evidence in a criminal proceeding in which the person is a defendant unless a person expressly waives this prohibition and requests that the statement be admitted as evidence. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 300—SB551/HB448—Lowe/Davis

This law requires governmental entities to provide a period of public comment for public meetings but authorizes the governmental entities to place reasonable restrictions on the period for public comment. This does not apply to a meeting of a governing body, or a portion thereof, where the governing body is conducting a disciplinary hearing or a meeting for which there are no actionable items on the agenda. This takes effect July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter 313—SB745/HB883—Helton-Haynes/Briggs

This law specifies that terminating an ectopic or molar pregnancy does not constitute a criminal abortion. This law removes the current affirmative defense in law and instead provides that it is not an offense of criminal abortion if the abortion is performed or attempted by a licensed physician in a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical treatment center and certain conditions are met. This law also requires the Department of Health to collect reports submitted under this law and report quarterly the number of abortions performed in this state to certain individuals in the executive and legislative branches no later than January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year. This law is effective April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 316—SB1426/HB1004—Roberts/Darby

This law requires an appointed member of a governing body for a state entity to serve in such capacity until the member's successor is duly appointed and qualified. Under this, an appointed member of a board, commission, or other governing body for a state governmental entity may be removed by the member's appointing authority with or without cause. A vacancy created by the removal of a member must be filled by the appointing authority in the same manner as the original appointment. This law also creates an advisory council on state procurement. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 325—SB1191/HB1388—Bailey/Ragan

This law terminates the Radiologic Imaging and Radiation Therapy Board of Examiners with no wind down period. This law authorizes the Board of Medical Examiners to establish and issue limited and full X-ray certifications. This law was effective on April 28, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 337—SB269/HB317—Johnson/Lamberth

This law designates June 19th as as a new official state holiday for Juneteenth. This law was effective on May 5, 2023, and applies to June 19, 2023. This was one of Governor Lee’s legislative initiatives.

Public Chapter No. 353—SB1443/HB727—Roberts/Fritts

This law requires an LEA to obtain the written, informed, and voluntary signed consent of a student’s parent or legal guardian, or the student if they are 18 years of age or older, before the student participates in a survey, analysis, or evaluation. A parent or legal guardian who wishes to excuse the student from participating in health screenings as part of a coordinate school health program must submit a request in writing to the school’s nurse, instructor, school, counselor, or principal. As used in this law, “health screening” means vision, dental, blood pressure, and hearing screenings. This law makes other changes regarding a student’s receiving of instruction of sexual orientation curriculum or gender identity curriculum or a student’s membership of a club or organization. This law is effective July 1, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 379—SB0365/HB0355—Massey/Alexander

This law requires that a health benefit plan that provides coverage for a screening mammogram must provide coverage for diagnostic imaging and supplemental breast screening without imposing a cost-sharing requirement on the patient. This law is effective 90 days after May 11, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 399—SB1458/HB0983—White/Sexton

This law requires local education agencies (LEAs) to provide licensed employees of the LEA 6 paid workweeks after a birth or stillbirth of the employee's child or employee's adoption of a newly placed minor child. This law is effective May 11, 2023, and applies to leave taken on or after that date.

Public Chapter No. 426—SB0458/HB0496—Watson/Martin

This law requires certain health related boards to either render a decision on the application or inform the applicant of the need to appear before such board within 60 days from the date the respective board receives a completed application for licensure from either an initial applicant or an applicant who is licensed in another state or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia. This law was effective on May 11, 2023, and applies to applications submitted on or after that date.

Public Chapter No. 432—SB702/HB1095—Crowe/Boyd

This law places requirements for registration of a temporary healthcare staffing agency. This law requires a temporary healthcare staffing agency to submit a biannual report to the Health Facilities Commission. This law lays out penalties and disciplinary proceedings for temporary healthcare staffing agency, such as revoking registration, under certain circumstances. Sections of this law have differing effective dates.

Public Chapter No. 438—SB102/HB158—Gardenhire/Zachary

This law prohibits an LEA, public charter school, or public institution of higher education from requiring an educator or other employee of the LEA or public charter school to complete or participate in implicit bias training or take an adverse employment action against them for failure or refusal to complete or participate in implicit bias training. "Implicit bias training" means a training or other educational program designed to expose an individual to biases that the training's or educational program's developer or designer presumes the individual to unconsciously, subconsciously, or unintentionally possess that predispose the individual to be unfairly prejudiced in favor of or against a thing, person, or group to adjust the individual's patterns of thinking in order to eliminate the individual's unconscious bias or prejudice. This law took effect May 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 443—SB296/HB779—Gardenhire/Helton-Haynes

This law requires the Board of Medical Examiners, the Board of Osteopathic Examination, the Board of Nursing, the Board of Physician Assistants, and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Board to, upon the receipt of a completed application for licensure from an applicant who is licensed in another state or territory of the United

States or in the District of Columbia, render a decision on the application or inform the applicant of the need to appear before the board within 45 days from the date the board receives the application. This law requires the Board of Athletic Trainers to, upon the receipt of a completed application for licensure from an applicant who is licensed in another state or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia, render a decision on the application or inform the applicant of the need to appear before the board within 60 days from the date the board receives the application. "Completed application" means an application that satisfies all statutory and board rule requirements. This law takes effect May 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 457—SB753/HB1317—Haile/Kumar

This law changes the composition and number of members of the Board of Pharmacy by adding two members to the Board and adding a residency requirement of no less than five years for pharmacist members of the board. This law authorizes the Board of Pharmacy to issue advisory opinions. This law also specifies that the current board members must serve on July 1, 2023, through the end of the members’ existing terms. This law was effective May 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 477—SB1111/HB1380—Bowling/Ragan

This law creates the “Mature Minor Doctrine Clarification Act.” This act prohibits a healthcare provider from providing a vaccination to a minor unless the healthcare provider first receives informed consent from a parent or legal guardian of the minor. The healthcare provider must document receipt of and include in the minor's medical record proof of prior parental or guardian informed consent. This law also requires written consent from a parent or legal guardian before providing a minor with a COVID- 19 vaccine. Additionally, this law prohibits an employee or agent of the state to provide, request, or facilitate the vaccination of a minor child in state custody except when certain situations apply. This law was effective May 17, 2023.

Public Chapter No. 486—SB1440/HB239—Roberts/Bulso

This law defines “sex” in code to mean a person's immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person's biological sex. “Evidence of a person’s biological sex” includes, but is not limited to, a government-issued identification document that accurately reflects a person's sex listed on the person's original birth certificate. This law takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Please note that these are high-level overviews of each public chapter. They do not include every detail or provide all bill information. Please review the text of the bill in its entirety at your own discretion. If you have any questions or need further clarity, please reach out to your attorney.

Non-Health Related Legislative Activity of Note

•      The legislature addressed legislative and Congressional redistricting.

•      The “Truth in Sentencing” Act made mandatory sentences for certain criminal offenses.

•      The “Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISA) Act” reformed the school funding approach.

Highlights and Noteworthy Health-Related Legislation

•      The Department had two successful legislative initiatives that became law relating to local county health departments and the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database, respectively.

•      Healthcare Facilities will move to the Health Services and Development Agency (HSDA)/Health Facility Commission on July 1, 2022

•      Healthcare providers can continue to utilize telehealth and receive reimbursement for telehealth services.

•      The Board of Pharmacy and the Board of Nursing will now hire and fire the Executive Director of the Board.

•      A registry within the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability was created to combat the operation of unlicensed facilities.

Pertinent Public Chapters

*All Public Chapters are Hyperlinked to the Document on the Secretary of State’s Website*

Public Chapter 644—SB1823/HB1867—Johnson/Zachary

Re: Covid-19 Vaccine Exemptions. This public chapter requires that an employer grant certain exemptions to requirements of proof/receipt of vaccinations if the request for exemption is either (1) supported by signed/date statement by a licensed physician that the staff member has a condition recognized under generally accepted medical standards as a basis for the medical exemption or (2) the staff member attests in writing (including electronic means) that the staff member has a sincerely held religious believe that prevents the staff member from complying the requirement in accordance with guidance from Medicare and Medicaid services. This public chapter creates a civil penalty of $10,000 for violation of this statute.  Effective as of March 11, 2022.

Public Chapter 680—SB1909/HB1904—Johnson/Faison

Re Autoclave Requirements. This public chapter exempts autoclaves from the clearance requirements of the Board of Boilers Rules if the autoclave sterilizes reusable medical or dental equipment used by an individual licensed under title 68 or 63, is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, contains a boiler, and is regulated by the FDA.  Effective as of March 28, 2022. The Governor did not sign this public chapter.

Public Chapter 756—SB1789/HB2858—Briggs/Kumar


Re Conditions of Participation. This public chapter removes the requirement that a healthcare provider enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid be subject to conditions of participation to be exempt from the definition of “private business” or “governmental entity” for purposes of the Title 14/Covid-19 state laws.

Effective as of March 31, 2022.

Public Chapter 766—SB2453/HB2655—Yager/Hawk


Re Telehealth. This public chapter extends the ability for healthcare providers to receive reimbursement for healthcare services provided during a telehealth encounter. This public chapter also clarifies that a healthcare provider acting within the scope of a valid license is not prohibited from delivering services through telehealth. Lastly, this public chapter adds that the requirement of an in-person encounter between the healthcare services provider, the provider’s practice group, or the healthcare system and patient within sixteen months prior to the interactive visit is tolled for the duration of a state of emergency declared by the Governor provided that healthcare services provider or patient, or both, are located in the geographical area covered by the state of emergency.  Effective as of April 1, 2022 and applies to insurance policies or contracts issued, entered into, renewed, or amended on or after that date.


Public Chapter 769—SB568/HB702—Johnson/Lamberth

Re Anatomical Gifts. This public chapter prohibits a healthcare provider, a hospital, an ambulatory surgical treatment center, a home care organization or any other entity responsible for matching anatomical gifts or organ donors to potential recipients from, solely on the basis of whether an individual has received or will receive a Covid-19 vaccine, (1) consider an individual ineligible for transplant or receipt of an anatomical gift, (2) deny medical or other services related to transplantation, (3) refuse to refer an individual to a transplant center or specialist, (4) refuse to place an individual on an organ or tissue waiting list, or (5) place an individual at a position on an organ or tissue waiting list lower than the position the person at which the individual would have been placed if not for the individual’s vaccine status.

Effective as of April 8, 2022.

Public Chapter 833—HB1997/SB1936—Cochran/Jackson


Re UAPA.  Clarifies that the ALJ shall decide a procedural questions of law.  Allows the director of the administrative procedures division of the secretary of state’s office to issue subpoenas.  Allows electronic participation in hearings, by agreement of the parties.  The hearing officer may allow electronic testimony if the absence of the witness would otherwise cause of delay of the hearing.  Requires that a final orders be issued within 90 days.  Allows that a petition for reconsideration be filed within 15 days of the entry of the final order or initial order.

Effective as of April 19, 2022.

Public Chapter 856—HB2864/SB2889—Rudd/Gardenhire


Re Public Meetings. Permits boards or agencies of state government to have electronic meetings.  If an electronic meeting is being held, requires that members of the public be allowed to view and/or listen to the meeting in real time.  There must also be a method of members of the public to participate in the meeting electronically, if they would otherwise be permitted to participate in person.  Instructions for participate are to be included in the notice of the meeting. An electronic meeting shall be recorded and that recording must be posted on the website of the organization within 3 days. The governing body shall maintain that electronic record of the meeting for at least 3 years.

Effective on July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 883—SB2285/HB1749—Bell/Ragan


Re UAPA and Judicial Review Standards. Requires that a judge over a contested case not defer to an agency’s interpretation of the statue or rule and shall interpret it de novo. Remaining ambiguity shall be resolved against the agency.

Effective as of April 14, 2022.

Public Chapter 896—SB896/HB1960—Bowling/Hulsey


Re Title 14. Eliminates the sunset provisions in Title 14 for the definitions section and for the section that prohibits government entities from mandating vaccinations. Deletes a variety of definitions from the Title.

For the deletion of definitions, effective July 1, 2022 at 12:01 AM. For all other purposes, effective as of April 19, 2022.

Public Chapter 911—HB2309/SB2464—Freeman/Reeves


Re Professional License Requirements. Mandates that a person seeking a professional license have US citizenship or be authorized under federal law to work in the US as verified by the SAVE Program (allows DACA children who are now adults to obtain professional licensure if not otherwise prevented by the license).  

Effective July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 930—HB1871/SB1982—Hulsey/Hensley


Re Covid Vaccinations and Acquired Immunity. Amends Title 14 to mandate that acquired immunity from a previous Covid-19 infection be treated the same as a Covid-19 vaccination by a governmental entity, school, or local education authority. Mandates that private businesses who require vaccinations also include recognition for acquired immunity for Covid-19. Effective as of April 11, 2022—This was not signed by Governor.

Public Chapter 1024—SB1748/HB1827—Roberts/Ragan


Re UAPA and Rules. Makes permanent all rules that were filed with the Secretary of State between January 1, 2021 and in effect upon passage of the act, unless they conflict with legislation passed during this session.

Effective as of May 11, 2022.

Public Chapter 1073—HB2665/SB2449—Sexton, McNally


Re Covid Visitation Policies and Limitations on Covid Treatment Exemptions. Clarifies that a prescriber can be disciplined for prescribing controlled substances and/or narcotics for treatment of Covid, if appropriate. In addition, creates a patient advocate process that hospitals must follow during times of covid concern. Allows that person to enter a facility if they agree to follow procedures but provides certain exceptions to access to locations within the hospital. Effective as of May 25, 2022.

Public Chapter 1094—SB1891/HB1905—Hulsey/Doggett


Re Mandatory Reporting of Fatal Drug Overdoses. Requires that a fatal overdose be reported to law enforcement, including by doctors and nurses.

Effective July 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 1117—SB2448/HB2671—White/Farmer


Re: Extended Liability Protection Against Covid Claims. Extends the liability protection against claims based on Covid exposure until July 1, 2023. Effective as of June 1, 2022.

Public Chapter 1123—SB2574/HB2535—Crowe/Alexander


Re: End-of-Life Visitation at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. Requires that nursing homes and assisted living facilities allow for visitation during a disaster, emergency, or public health emergency for Covid-19. Provides an exemption if the visitation would violate federal or state law.

Effective July 1, 2022.

** Please note that these are high-level overviews of each public chapter. Speak with the Board

Attorney for any specific questions or concerns. **


Public Chapter 6

This act extends the board of dispensing opticians to June 30, 2026. The act took effect March 23, 2021.

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 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 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 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 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 513

This act prohibits the Governor from issuing an executive order and a state agency, department or political subdivision from promulgating, adopting, or enforcing an ordinance or resolution that requires a person to receive an immunization, vaccination, or injection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus or any variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also deletes the previous override during an epidemic or immediate threat of an epidemic of an objection against vaccination that was made on the basis of religious tenets. The law prohibits requiring the COVID-19 vaccine to attend k-12 schools. The prohibition against requiring vaccines does not apply to governmental entities subject to federal or state statute or rule that prohibits the entity from requiring medical treatment for those who object on religious grounds or right of conscience. The law also does not apply to students of a public institution of higher education delivering healthcare services when the student is participating in/fulfilling requirements of a program in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or another healthcare profession.

This act took effect May 25, 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.

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

Public Chapter 4 (second extraordinary session)

This public chapter deals with telehealth and reimbursement.  The majority of the legislation is focused on provisions related to insurance and reimbursement for telehealth services.  Section 9 of the public chapter, however, focuses on the definition of telehealth and what health practitioners are authorized to do telehealth.

Section 9 of the bill defines "telehealth," "telemedicine," and "provider-based telemedicine" as the use of real time audio, video, or other electronic media and telecommunication technology that enables interaction between a healthcare provider and a patient for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment of a patient at a distant site where there may be no in-person exchange between a healthcare provider and a patient. The definition also includes store-and-forward telemedicine services.

Until April 1, 2022, all licensed providers under title 63 (as well as licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors under title 68, or any state-contracted crisis service provider that is employed by a facility licensed under title 33) are defined as healthcare providers under the telehealth bill.  After April 1, 2022, the definition of a healthcare provider eligible to perform telehealth services will change to an individual acting within the scope of a valid license issued pursuant to title 63 (as well as licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselors under title 68, or any state-contracted crisis service provider that is employed by a facility licensed under title 33).  Telehealth is not authorized for use at pain management clinics or for the treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain.  It is also not available for veterinarians. 

A patient-provider relationship in regard to telehealth is created by mutual consent and communication.  No new standards of care are created, and the provider will be held to the same standard of care as if the case was in person.  Finally, the board shall not establish a more restrictive standard of practice for telehealth than what is specifically authorized by the provider's practice act or other applicable statutes.

This act took effect August 20, 2020.

Public Chapter 594

This act was the Department of Health’s Licensure Accountability Act.  The bill allows all health related boards to take action against a licensee that has been disciplined by another state for any acts or omissions that would constitute grounds for discipline in Tennessee.  The law also expands available emergency actions, allowing actions beyond simply a summary suspension.  Finally, the act establishes that the notification of law changes to health practitioners can be satisfied by the online posting of law changes by the respective boards.  Notice must be maintained online for at least 2 years following the change. 

This act took effect March 20, 2020.


Public Chapter 738

This act prohibits a governmental entity from authorizing destruction of public records if the governmental entity knows the records are subject to a pending public record request.  Prior to authorizing destruction of public records an entity must contact the public record request coordinator to ensure the records are not subject to any pending public record requests.  Records may still be disposed of in accordance with an established records retention schedule/policy as part of an ordinary course of business as long as the records custodian is without knowledge the records are subject to a pending request. 

This act took effect on June 22, 2020.



Public Chapter 61

This act states that an entity responsible for an AED program is immune from civil liability for personal injury caused by maintenance or use of an AED if such conduct does not rise to the level of willful or wanton misconduct or gross negligence. 

This act took effect on March 28, 2019. 


Public Chapter 195

The majority of this act pertains to boards governed by the Department of Commerce and Insurance.  One small section applies to the health related boards. Currently, the health related boards have an expedited licensure process for military members and their spouses.  Previously, a spouse of an active military member had to leave active employment to be eligible for this expedited process.  This act removes that requirement.  This section applies to all health related boards.  The Commissioner of Health is permitted to promulgate rules, but rules are not needed to implement the act. 

This act takes effect July 1, 2019. 


Public Chapter 229

This act allows healthcare professionals to accept goods or services as payment in direct exchange of barter for healthcare services. Bartering is only permissible if the patient to whom services are provided is not covered by health insurance. All barters accepted by a healthcare professional must be submitted to the IRS annually. This act does not apply to healthcare services provided at a pain management clinic.

This act took effect April 30, 2019. 


Public Chapter 243

This act mandates that an agency that requires a person applying for a license to engage in an occupation, trade, or profession in this state to take an examination must provide appropriate accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any state agency that administers a required examination for licensure (except for examinations required



by federal law) shall promulgate rules in regard to eligibility criteria. This legislation was introduced to assist individuals with dyslexia. 

 This act took effect May 2, 2019 for the purpose of promulgating rules, and for all other purposes, takes effect July 1, 2020. 


Public Chapter 447

This act permits law enforcement agencies to subpoena materials and documents pertaining to an investigation conducted by the Department of Health prior to formal disciplinary charges being filed against the provider. This bill was brought by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

This act went into effect May 22, 2019. 

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 takes 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 took 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 take 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, excluding matters 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 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 takes 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 takes effect July 1, 2018.

Public Chapter 350

 This will allow healthcare providers to satisfy one hour of continuing education requirements through the performance of one hour of voluntary provision of healthcare services.  The maximum amount of annual hours of continuing education that a provider can receive through providing volunteer healthcare services is the lesser of 8 hours or 20% of the provider’s annual continuing education requirement.  The legislation allows for rulemaking by the division of health related boards in order to administer this section.  This took effect on May 12, 2017.

 Public Chapter 215

This will require state governmental entities that establish or adopt guides to practice to do so through the promulgation of rules, rather than policy.  The rules so promulgated must specify all provisions included in and relating to the guide to practice.  Any changes to guides to practice made after the guides are adopted must also be promulgated by rule in order to be effective.   For purposes of this part, guides to practice includes codes of ethics and other quality standards, but does not include tests, examinations, building codes, safety codes, or drug standards.  This legislation took effect on April 28, 2017.

Public Chapter 240

 This legislation was brought by the Department of Health and was designed to address a number of issues throughout all licensing boards, committees, and councils.  This legislation will:

Insure the integrity of licensure examinations by making examination questions, answer sheets, scoring keys, and other examination data confidential and closed to public inspection.
Allow the issuance of limited licenses to applicants who have been out of clinical practice or inactive, or who are engaged in administrative practice.  Limited licenses may be of restricted scope, restricted duration, and have additional conditions placed upon them in order to obtain full licensure.
Clarify that other documents prepared by or on behalf of the Department with regard to an investigation are confidential until such time as formal disciplinary charges are filed against the provider.
Eliminate the “locality rule” for administrative law.
Require the chief administrative official for each health care facility to report within 60 days any disciplinary action taken against an employee for matters related to ethics, incompetence or negligence, moral turpitude, or substance abuse, to the employee’s respective licensing board.  All records pertaining to the disciplinary action shall be made available for examination to the licensing board.

This act became effective on May 2, 2017.

Public Chapter 481

This legislation creates a new violation of a healthcare practitioner’s practice act if that practitioner refuses to submit to or tests positive for any drug the practitioner does not have a lawful prescription for or a valid medical reason for using the drug.  It is the duty of the employer to report any violation to the Department of Health.  If the practitioner fails a drug test, the practitioner has 3 business days to either produce the requisite prescription or medical reason, or report to their board approved peer assistance program.  If the practitioner does not comply with any of these measures, it is the duty of the employer to report this violation of the practice act to the employee’s licensing board for investigation and action.  If the practitioner reports to the peer assistance program and obtains and maintains advocacy of the program, the employer is not required to notify the board. 

As long as a practitioner obtains, maintains and complies with the terms of a peer assistance program, the board shall not take action on the licensee for the sole reason of a failed or refused drug test.  If a practitioner fails to obtain or maintain advocacy from the peer assistance program, the program is required to report that information to the appropriate licensing board.  The board SHALL suspend the license of a practitioner who fails to comply with the terms of the program.  Employer drug testing must be compliant with the Drug-free Workplace requirements.  This legislation allows a quality improvement committee to share information regarding substance abuse by a practitioner with other quality improvement committees.  Additionally, this legislation specifies that the Department of Health is not required to obtain prior approval from the Attorney General in order to take any emergency action on a licensee. This legislation took effect on July 1, 2017.

Public Chapter 230

This legislation authorizes commissioners or supervising officials of departments to evaluate certain actions by a regulatory board to determine whether the action may constitute a potentially unreasonable restraint of trade.  Supervising officials must ensure that the actions of regulatory boards that displace competition are consistent with a clearly articulated state policy.  If a board action constitutes a potentially unreasonable restraint of free trade, the supervising official must conduct a further review of the action and either approve, remand or veto the action.  The supervising official may not be licensed by, participate in, or have a financial interest in the occupation, business or trade regulated by the board who is subject to further review, nor be a voting or ex officio member of the board.  The supervising official must provide written notice of any vetoed actions to the senate and house government operations committees. 

Prior to filing a regulatory board's rule with the secretary of state, the commissioner or chief executive officer of the administrative department under which a regulatory board operates or to which a regulatory board is administratively attached, or a designee to the extent a conflict of interest may exist with respect to the commissioner or chief executive officer, must remand a rule that may constitute a potentially unreasonable restraint of trade to the regulatory board for additional information, further proceedings, or modification, if the rule is not consistent with a clearly articulated state policy or law established by the general assembly with respect to the regulatory board.  This act took effect on April 24, 2017.