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Board of Occupational Therapy

Legislative- Update 2020

Amended Telehealth Statute 63-1-155

Current through July 31, 2017

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

https://sos.tn.gov/division-publications/acts-and-resolutions

Legislative 2020 Public Chapters 

Occupational Therapy Board Legislative Update - 2018

 

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 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 997

This act requires public safety employers to provide, in addition to any other mental health benefits, not less than 10 visits to a mental health provider for purposes of treating PTSD.  The act establishes a number of other requirements on public safety employers.  The legislation also requires that a mental health service provider (that provides treatment to public safety employees) to participate in training at least once per year that familiarizes the provider with the unique problems associated with each public safety profession lifestyle.  Some of the mental health service providers that may be affected by this act are professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, marital and family therapists, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, and occupational therapists.

This act takes effect July 1, 2018.

 

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 396

Named the “Kenneth and Madge Tullis, MD, Suicide Prevention Training Act,” this legislation requires the professionals licensed under several occupational boards, including the board of occupational therapy, to complete a suicide prevention training program that is approved by rule by the respective board.  Beginning January 1, 2020, this training must be completed once every five years and before initial licensure for those applying for initial licensure on or after that date.  The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) must develop a model list of training programs that cover suicide prevention, assessment, screening, treatment, management, and postvention.  The licensing board may approve a program that excludes one of these elements if the element is inappropriate for the profession in question.  The hours spent in the training program shall count towards meeting any continuing education requirements and the Board may promulgate rules to effectuate the purposes of this act.  This Act took effect on May 18, 2017.  

Public Chapter 350

This legislation 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 Act took effect on May 12, 2017.

Public Chapter 215

This legislation requires 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 authorizes entities that regulate health professionals to issue limited licenses and makes various changes related to reporting of disciplinary matters to licensure entities. 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.    

Public Chapter 763

Permits licensees whose licenses from a health-related board have expired to obtain reinstatement on the basis of a plan developed by the department of health for periodic payment of past due renewal fees and unattained continuing education instead of the current requirement of payment of all past due fees before reinstatement. This act will take effect on July 1, 2016.

Public Chapter 949
This act allows for initial licensure applications to be accepted online. Currently, renewing licenses is already available online.  This also makes available to the public annual inspections of health care facilities and pharmacies, similar to how nursing home inspections are already available. 

Public Chapter 575
This act extends civil immunity to health care providers providing services at clinics that charge patients based on a sliding scale to health care providers offering services at a clinic that does not charge a patient for services.

Public Chapter 154

This act allows would allow the Commissioner of Health or his designee to have electronic access to medical records in order to facilitate investigations when responding to an immediate threat to public health. Today the Commissioner of Health or his designee already has this authority but must go to the facility to review the medical records.

Public Chapter 94

This act defines “abuse” and “neglect” for purposes of placing a person on the registry of persons who have abused, neglected, or misappropriated the property of vulnerable individuals specifically within the statutes that govern the Dept. of Health. It does not impact the definitions within the statutes that govern the Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities nor the Dept. of Human Services.  It also increases the time within which placement on the registry may be appealed from 30 to 60 days.

Public Chapter 502

This act allows the Joint Government Operations Committee (the legislative committee that reviews all rules) to stay a rule up to 75 days instead of 60 days.  Present law authorizes the Joint Government Operations Committee to consider the following factors when reviewing rules: authority, clarity, consistency, justification, necessity and reference. This act adds arbitrariness and capriciousness as two new considerations.

Public Chapter 268

This act makes disclosures of protected healthcare information permissible in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Public Chapter 261

The act provides for the practice of telehealth. It outlines the following:

  • Defines a healthcare provider
  • Establishes a provider-patient relationship by mutual consent and mutual communication
  • Specifies that telehealth does not create a new standard care
  • Prohibits any board from creating a more restrictive standard of professional practice for telehealth service