Session Ends; TMA Tallies Wins
The Tennessee General Assembly adjourned its 107th legislative session on May 1, 2012. The TMA had another productive year! We thank all our members who reached out to their legislators and urged support of organized medicine and better patient health and safety.
Below are highlights of our top achievements during the 2012 legislative session.
- Interventional Pain Management (SB 1935/HB 1896) – Only allows spinal injections by those with proper training, and requires direct supervision of mid-level providers by an appropriately-trained physician when performed in an unlicensed setting.
- Pain Clinic Bill “Clean-Up” (SB 2587/HB 2724) - Amends last year’s bill by clarifying that the definition of a pain clinic is based on the entire group practice’s prescribing habits and not just an individual prescriber within the practice.
- Meth Burn Reporting (SB 2679/HB 2834) - Provides immunity and liability protection for physicians and others who, in good faith, report burns caused by meth production and use; clarifies reporting parameters.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (SB 3627/HB 2801) – Requires HRT procedures to be performed by a licensed physician or licensed osteopathic physician. Allows a certified nurse practitioner or a physician assistant to perform HRT procedures only if delegated or authorized by a licensed physician or licensed osteopathic physician; establishes reasonable guidelines for patient safety.
- ME Access to CSMD (SB 2776/HB 2825) - Permits medical examiner access to the Controlled Substances Monitoring Database for deceased individuals on which they are performing autopsies.
- Malpractice (Givens Fix) (SB 2789/HB 2979) - Additional tort reform passed to allow defense lawyers in medical malpractice cases access to medical records of the plaintiff and the ability to have informal discussions about the case with witnesses outside the presence of the plaintiff’s lawyer.
Legislation Amended & Passed
- Prescription Safety Act (SB 2253/HB 2391) – Requires a check of the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database (CSMD) before writing prescriptions for all narcotics and benzodiazepines. The TMA was instrumental in helping win exceptions for hospice or post-surgical use in a licensed facility and for prescription courses of seven days or less; won a delay in the effective date (April 1, 2013) so the legislature could address any glitches in the database; won removal of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation from the advisory committee and assurance that licensure fees would not be used to pay for any unforeseen costs of implementing the program.
- Abortion/Life Defense Act of 2012 (SB 3323/HB 3808) – Helped defeat efforts to list physicians who perform abortions in an online registry; also defeated a provision that could have allowed placement of information online that could have led to the identification of women who had obtained an abortion. The amended bill requires physicians who do abortions to have hospital admitting privileges in the same county or a contiguous county where the abortion is being performed.
- State Insurance (SB 2212/HB 3350) – The TMA and other stakeholders successfully narrowed the scope of this bill, which originally specified that state insurance plans would not be subject to regulation by the Department of Commerce and Insurance or Department of Health and could ignore many of the mandates, including off-label drug use, that had been fought and won years earlier. The amended version only applies to insurance issues related to Local Education Agencies.
- Domestic Violence Reporting (SB 3145/HB 3579) - Clarifies when a victim of domestic abuse or assault can choose not to have law enforcement contacted; deletes a requirement of healthcare providers to submit a monthly report to the Department of Health on domestic violence for statistical purposes.
- Hospital Access to the Controlled Substances Monitoring Database (SB 2407/HB 2569) - Allows hospital quality improvement committees to request data on employed personnel if there is reason to believe the employee may be misusing or abusing controlled substances.
- Consumer Protection (SB 3723/HB 3408) - Would have required medical practices and other businesses to delete consumer’s personal information upon consumer's written request unless the business is required to retain the information by law – a burdensome requirement for medical practices.
- Guns in Homes (SB 2542/HB 2672) – Would have prohibited physicians from asking about guns in the home.
- Mandatory Physician Communication on Mammograms (SB 3009/HB 3297) - Would have required radiologists to send information to women determined to have dense breasts encouraging those patients to discuss the need for further testing with their primary care providers.
- Motorcycle Helmet Use (SB 2541/HB 2661) - Would have permitted adults 21 and older to ride motorcycles without helmets.
- TennCare Psychotropic Off-Label Use (SB 2178/HB 2723) - Would have prohibited TennCare from paying for psychotropic prescription drugs that are not used for medically indicated uses.
A full report on the outcome of the TMA’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill for this session will be available in the June/July issue of Tennessee Medicine.
Contact the TMA Government Relations team at 800-659-1862.