Board of Respiratory Care
If you wish to review any of the following Public Chapters in their entirety, please visit:
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 603—SB1699/HB1780—Roberts/Ragan
Re: Board of Respiratory Care Therapists Sunset. This public chapter extends the Board of Respiratory Care Therapists to June 30, 2028.
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 810—SB2035/HB2058—Southerland/Gant
Re Smokeless Nicotine Products. This public chapter makes it unlawful for the sale or distribution of smokeless nicotine products to individuals under 21 years old and unlawful for individuals under 21 years old to purchase or possesses smokeless nicotine products. For the purposes of this public chapter, smokeless nicotine product means nicotine that is in the form of a solid, gel, gum, or paste that is intended for human consumption or placement in the oral cavity for absorption into the human body by any means other than inhalation. Smokeless nicotine does not include tobacco or tobacco products or nicotine replacement therapy products. 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 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 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 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 1110—SB2219/HB2705—Briggs/Carringer
Re Local/County Smoking Prohibitions. Permits local or county governments to pass legislation to prohibit smoking and/or vaping in age-restricted venues. Excludes cigar bars and retail tobacco stores from the local prohibitions.
Effective on 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. **
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.
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.
This act establishes requirements for a healthcare provider to follow when either an inpatient in a health care facility, or someone who is seeking services in an emergency department, expresses to the provider a recent threat or attempt at suicide or infliction of bodily harm to themselves. In this scenario, the healthcare provider shall enter the attempt or threat into the patient's medical record. Upon discharge from the facility, the facility shall provide the patient with contact information to access a qualified mental health professional or counseling
resource unless the patient is discharged to another facility. This referral requirement can be satisfied by providing contact information for this state's mobile crisis services or the statewide crisis hotline. Lastly, the act states that a healthcare provider who violates this section is subject to discipline by the licensing authority.
This act took effect July 1, 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Legislative Update 2019: Board of Respiratory Care
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.
This act amends the Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco and Vapor Products Act by limiting the places in which one may use vapor products. The act defines vapor products and prohibits the use of such products in a number of locations including child care centers, group care homes, healthcare facilities (excluding nursing homes), residential treatment facilities, school grounds, and several other areas. Several locations have specific exceptions set forth in the statute.
This act took effect on April 17, 2019.
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.
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.
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.
This act prohibits any person who is not licensed or certified by the Board of Nursing from using the title “nurse” or any other title that implies that the person is a practicing nurse. The Board is empowered to petition any circuit or chancery court having jurisdiction to enjoin: (1) a person attempting to practice or practicing nursing without a valid license; (2) a licensee found guilty of any of the acts listed in 63-7-115; or (3) any person using the title “nurse” who does not possess valid license or certificate from the Board.
This act took effect May 2, 2019.
This act amends the “Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco and Vapor Products Act” to include “Smoking Hemp”. Its purpose is to prohibit the sale or distribution of smoking hemp products to, or purchase of smoking hemp products on behalf of, persons under the age of 18.
This act takes effect on July 1, 2019.
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.
Board of Respiratory Care Legislative Update - 2018
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.
This chapter prohibits healthcare prescribers and their employees, agents, or independent contractors from in-person solicitation, telemarketing, or telephonic solicitation of victims within 30 days of an accident or disaster for the purpose of marketing services of the healing arts related to the accident or disaster. There are specific exceptions laid out in the chapter.
This act takes effect July 1, 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eliminates the requirement that a healthcare services provider be at a hospital or other qualified site for the service to be considered telehealth services for insurance purposes; requires health insurance entities to reimburse healthcare service providers at the same rate for telehealth services as for in-person encounters. This act will take effect on July 1, 2016.
All boards under the Department of Health are not affected and were amended out of the act. This act as written requires each licensing agency, by December 31, 2016, to submit a copy of all existing or pending entry regulations to the licensing authority and an aggregate list of such entry regulations to the chairs of the government operations committees of the Senate and House of Representatives. Requires the committees to conduct a study of such entry regulations and authorizes the committee, at the committees’ discretion, to conduct a hearing regarding the entry regulations submitted by any licensing authority. The committee will issue a joint report regarding the committees’ findings and recommendations to the general assembly no later than January 1, 2018. This act was effective upon the Governor’s signature on April 28, 2016.
Allows licensing authorities for certain state regulatory agencies to consider whether a person's conviction for the commission of a felony bears directly on the person's fitness to practice competently when making determinations regarding the person's licensure status. This act was effective upon the Governor’s signature on April 6, 2016.
Public Chapter 154
This act allows 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 630
Continues the Board of Respiratory Care until June 30, 2016, and revises certain provisions regarding appointments to the board.
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 585
This legislation allows the Commissioner of Health to set the pharmacy formulary for medications that are issued from local health departments. It allows input from the Board of Pharmacy on the medications to be listed. This will streamline the process and allow for more prompt changes to the formulary.
Public Chapter 590
This legislation adds advanced practice nurses to individuals exempt from subpoena to trial. Advanced practice nurses, like physicians assistants, are still subject to subpoena to deposition.
Public Chapter 594
The act requires certain entities to make available information and instruction of infant CPR to at least one future parent or caregiver.
Public Chapter 622
Current law requires that, prior to writing a script for an opiate or benzodiazepine; a practitioner must check the database for their patient. This act allows that patient’s profile to be placed in their medical record, which is subject to HIPAA. This further allows the Department of Health to make available upon request aggregate, de-identified data from the CSMD.
Public Chapter 623
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist designed to stop the effects of an opiate related overdose. This act allows a licensed healthcare practitioner to prescribe naloxone to a person at risk of having an opiate related overdose, or a family member or friend of the at-risk individual. It further requires training in administration of naloxone prior to the drug being prescribed. Civil immunity is provided for both the prescribing practitioner and the individual administering naloxone.
Public Chapter 638
This act allows optometrists to use local anesthetics in conjunction with the primary care of an eyelid lesion. It requires optometrists to follow board promulgated rules governing the care of eyelid lesions and they must be CPR certified and show proof of certification to the board in order to use such anesthesia. It further prohibits reconstructive surgery from being performed.
Public Chapter 651
The act allows Quality Improvement Committees (QIC’s) to share information with their counterparts and keeps this information confidential, privileged and protected from subpoena, discovery or trial evidence. It removes liability surrounding those who give information to QIC’s and removes liability solely on actions taken by the QIC.
Public Chapter 675
The act allows telehealth providers to contract with insurance companies to have their services covered in offered plans. Insurance providers cannot deny payment solely because the encounter was not in person.
Public Chapter 700
The act defines chronic non-malignant pain treatment as “prescribing or dispensing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates or carisoprodol for ninety (90) days or more in a twelve (12) month period for pain unrelated to cancer or palliative care.” A pain clinic has been redefined in statute.
Public Chapter 763
This act revises delinquent privilege tax provisions that would require the Department of Revenue to notify the licensee that failure to cure the delinquency or deficiency prior to their licensure renewal date can result in renewal abeyance. For purposes of the bill, “cure” means payment in full, entering into an agreed payment plan, or abatement of tax liability. Licensing boards will be provided monthly with list of licensees who are delinquent 90 days or more and boards may not process licensure renewal.
Public Chapter 791
This act creates a pilot program where three drug courts will have the ability to retrieve data from the controlled substance monitoring database. The pilot programs will be in rural, semi-urban, and urban counties and the retrieval process will mirror the current manner in which law enforcement is able to access data. The drug courts must show a need for the data, as their retrieval ability is very limited in scope.
Public Chapter 809
This act deletes superfluous language in the existing practice act statute. It adds forensic evaluation and parent coordination to the scope of practice. Further, this bill authorizes the board to promulgate rules regarding the practice of telepsychology.
Public Chapter 820
This act allows for prosecution, up to a class A misdemeanor, of a woman who gives birth to a child with neonatal abstinence syndrome, if the mother was illegally using narcotics. It is an affirmative defense for the mother if she was enrolled in a recovery program prior to the birth and successfully completes the program. (link to FAQ’s for PC 820 – coming soon)
Public Chapter 828
This requires a pharmacy to submit a data entry error correction to the NPLEx, upon learning of a data entry error. It prohibits the NPLEx from generating a stop sale alert where quantity limit is exceeded due to data entry error for which a correction was submitted.
Public Chapter 832
This authorizes collaborative pharmacy practice agreements (CPPAs) and sets out the legal parameters for CPPAs involving pharmacists and health care practitioners with prescriptive authority. It prohibits a retail pharmacy from employing an individual with prescribing authority for the purpose of maintaining, establishing or entering into a collaborative practice agreement with a patient. Further, it specifies that nothing shall prevent a pharmacy or pharmacist or group of pharmacists from employing or entering into a professional contract with a physician or licensed medical practitioner for the purpose of conducting quality assurance reviews of its pharmacists that are engaged in the practice of collaborative drug therapy.
Public Chapter 842
This act expands the provisions for dispensing in pain clinics to allow prescribers at a pain clinic to dispense complimentary samples of non-narcotic schedule V controlled substances for up to a 14-day supply.
Public Chapter 857
This act defines maximum allowable cost (MAC) and maximum allowable cost list for pharmacy benefits managers (PBM) and covered entities and requires PBM to find that a drug is generally available for purchase by pharmacies in the state from a national or regional wholesaler, prior to that drug being placed on MAC list. If a drug on the MAC list no longer meets these qualifications, it must be removed from list within 5 business days after discovery. This act does not prohibit a PBM from reimbursing claims for generics at a previously determined MAC, even if a PBM reimburses brand name at contracted rate after drug is determined generally unavailable. PBM’s must make available to each pharmacy contracted with or included in their network, at the beginning of the contract and upon renewal, the following: sources used to determine MAC for drugs and devices on MAC list; every MAC for individual drugs used by PBM for patients served by that pharmacy; and, upon request, every MAC list used by that PBM for patients served by that pharmacy. PBM’s shall: update the MAC list at least every 3 business days; make updated lists available to each pharmacy contracted with or included in network, online; and, utilize updated MACs to calculate payments made to pharmacies within 5 business days. PBM’s shall define how a pharmacy may contest the MAC of a particular drug or device. Pharmacies may appeal if the MAC established is below the cost of that drug or product is generally available and/or the PBM has placed the drug on list without determining that the drug is generally available for purchase by pharmacies in the state from a national or regional wholesaler. The appeal must be filed within 7 business days of submission of initial claim for reimbursement. A PBM must make its final determination of appeal within 7 business days of PBM receiving the appeal. Any denial of appeal requires the PBM to state the reason for denial and provide national drug code of equivalent drug that is generally available for purchase at a price which is equal to or less that MAC for drug. Successful appeals require the PBM to adjust MAC of drug or device for appealing pharmacy, effective from the date the appeal was filed, and within 3 business days to apply to claims submitted by other network pharmacies for the next payment cycle. PBM’s shall make information regarding the appeals process available online. Medical products and devices are limited to those included as pharmacy benefit under the contract. Violations of this law may subject PBM’s to current penalties in law. Pharmacies shall not disclose to any third party any MAC lists or other related information it receives from a PBM except that pharmacies may share such lists and information with pharmacy services administrative organizations or similar entities which the pharmacy contracts with to provide administrative services. Organizations that receive such information from pharmacies shall not disclose the information to any third party. This act takes effect January 1, 2015 and applies to all contracts entered into or renewed on or after that date.
Public Chapter 859
This act transfers the collection of the nursing home assessment from the Department of Health to the Bureau of TennCare. It restructures the assessment from a per-bed tax to a per-resident-day basis, excluding Medicare patients. It creates a trust fund of the collections from nursing homes, investment earnings and penalties. Payments are due on the 15th of each month for the previous month’s assessment and are due to TennCare starting on August 15, 2014.
Public Chapter 872
This act requires an individual picking up prescription of a schedule II-IV opioid, benzodiazepine, zolpidem, barbiturate, or carisoprodol to show identification. The individual picking up the prescription is not required to be the person for whom the script is written for. Several exemptions apply to this law such as: it is only applicable to prescriptions longer than a 7-day period; dispenser is not required to check ID if the person is personally known by dispenser; minors or homeless individuals that do not have ID may receive prescription based upon dispenser’s personal judgment; does not apply to veterinarians; does not apply to samples dispensed by healthcare professionals. Additionally, this act does not apply to scripts written for: inpatients in a hospital; outpatients of a hospital where prescriber writes order in medical chart and order is given directly to hospital pharmacy; residents of a nursing home or assisted living facility; inpatients or residents of licensed MH facility; inpatients or residents of a DEA registered narcotic treatment program; patients in correctional facilities; mail order patients; pharmacy home delivery patients. Violations of this act are only subject to civil penalty assessed by the licensing board, which is authorized to promulgate rules to effectuate this act.
Public Chapter 898
This act revises the way Advanced Practice Nurse and Physicians Assistants profiles are maintained on the Consumer Right to Know Database. It does this by making the database searchable by APN, PA or physician name. It further requires notification to the Department within 30 days of any change in supervising relationship by all providers so it can be changed in the database for the public.
Public Chapter 906
This is the Methamphetamine Production Reduction Act. The law caps the sale/purchase of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine products at 5.76 g/month or 28.8 g/year, per person requiring prescription. The caps shall not apply with respect to a valid prescription from a practitioner authorized to prescribe. No person under the age of 18 may purchase the products except pursuant to a valid prescription from a practitioner or from a pharmacist generated prescription.
Public Chapter 909
The act defines cosmetic medical service as any “service that uses a biologic or synthetic material, a chemical application, a mechanical device, or a displaced energy form of any kind that alters or damages, or is capable of altering or damaging, living tissue to improve the patient’s appearance or achieve an enhanced aesthetic result”. The act further requires any business advertising as a medical spa to display the medical director or supervising physician of the practice on a sign at the practice including board certification.
Public Chapter 918
This legislation creates the Applied Behavior Analyst Licensing Committee under the Board of Examiners in Psychology. The committee shall consist of five members appointed by the governor, three of which shall be licensed behavior analysts, one assistant behavior analyst and one consumer member of the public. The law sets forth procedures for obtaining and maintaining licensure for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts. It adds the chair of the committee as an ex-officio voting member to the Board of Examiners in Psychology. Further, it sets a minimum quorum for the board at six members and also requires any board action to receive at least six alike votes.
Public Chapter 936
This act allows for cannabidiol to be dispensed and administered as part of clinic research trials for treatment of intractable seizures in certain hospitals. The act requires the trials to be supervised by a physician practicing at a hospital or associated clinic that are affiliated with a university with a college or school of medicine. Any physician conducting a trial must report the results to the standing health committees of the Tennessee House and Tennessee Senate as well as both the Speakers of the Senate and House by January 15, 2018.
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 953
This legislation adds the certification of “Registered Nurse First Assistant” to the purview of the Board of Nursing. It allows a licensed registered nurse, certified in perioperative nursing, and has completed a RNFA educational program, to apply to the board for a RNFA certificate. It authorizes the board to promulgate rules and set fees associated with RNFA certification.
Public Chapter 983
This is a pain clinic revision act that requires all healthcare practitioners to notify their appropriate licensing board within 10 days of starting or ending employment at a pain clinic. It prevents health care prescribers from dispensing an opioid or benzodiazepine except under certain conditions. Requires all opioids and benzodiazepine’s not falling under the exemptions to be returned to a reverse distributor or to local law enforcement by Jan. 11, 2015. The act requires pharmacy wholesalers to notify the Board of Pharmacy and other prescribing boards when suspicious orders (unusual size, deviations from normal pattern, and unusual frequency) are discovered. Wholesalers must report a theft or significant loss of controlled substances to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Committee and local law enforcement within one business day of discovery.
Public Chapter 1011
This act requires submissions to the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database be made at the close of each business day for all controlled substances dispensed the prior business day. The act does provide good faith effort exemption and gives the Board of Pharmacy the ability to make rules implementing this exemption. This act does not go into effect until January 1, 2016. Veterinary Medical Examiners are exempt from this provision.