TMA Legislative Priorities

The first session of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly convened on Jan. 10, 2017. TMA will focus on several key legislative issues during the session.

TMA Position: Support

Sponsors: Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville)


Background: The Healthcare Provider Stability Act would limit how often insurance companies can change fee schedules and payment policies/methodologies and would make such changes more transparent to healthcare providers.

The goal of the bill is to achieve predictability in reimbursement for healthcare providers by limiting arbitrary reimbursement changes in the middle of a contract period. By requiring notice of changes to fee schedules and payment policies, the bill would make it easier for providers to see, understand and deal with contract changes as they are made.

The legislation came close to passage during the 2016 session.
TMA Position: Support

Sponsors: Sen. Richard Briggs, MD (R-Knoxville) and Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Crossville)

 

span style="color: #00819b;">Background: TMA wants to address the ever-increasing cost and hassles for physicians associated with maintenance of certification.

MOC has become a topic of discussion nationwide, with legislation to address the issue gaining traction in other states. In Kentucky, new legislation prevents MOC as a condition of licensure and, in Oklahoma, legislation removed MOC as a requirement for physicians to be hired, gain admitting privileges or be reimbursed.


Background: TMA hopes to be able to support a recommendation expected to come out of a legislative task force established during the 2016 session to explore healthcare access and nursing scope of practice issues. The association remains firm, however, in advocating for a team-based approach between physicians and advanced practice nurses.

TMA nominated several members of the task force, and physicians and nurses were given equal representation on the task force. It convened for the first time in June 2016. 
 
TMA Position: Oppose

Background: 
During the 2016 session, legislation was considered that would have required healthcare providers who are not contracted with a patient’s insurance provider to give an estimate of anticipated charges to patients.

TMA opposed the legislation because it would have created operational slowdowns and unnecessary administrative hassles.

With TMA advocacy, the bill was amended to create a legislative task force to study the issue. The task force has yet to convene.

In the meantime, TMA is working with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance to reach a consensus on National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) network adequacy model bill and to make the bill more Tennessee-specific.
TMA Position: Oppose

Sponsors: Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) Background: 
A Georgia-based group called Patients for Fair Compensation filed legislation in 2016 in an attempt to move medical malpractice lawsuits against physicians out of the court system and into an administrative patient compensation system.

The legislation did not pass but is expected to be filed again in 2017.

TMA’s concerns about the proposal include questions about its constitutionality, the cost it would ultimately levy on physicians and the meteoric increase in National Practitioner Databank reports the system would create.
Background: House Speaker Beth Harwell established the “3-Star Healthy Project” task force in 2016 to come up with a proposal to extend healthcare coverage to more of Tennessee’s working poor residents as an alternate to Gov. Bill Haslam’s failed Insure Tennessee proposal.

TMA is watching this issue and will evaluate any proposal(s) that emerges from the legislative task force.
TMA Position: Support

Sponsors: Sen. Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) and Rep. Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville)

 

Background: The bill would ensure that osteopathic physicians have the same protections as other healthcare providers for peer reviews.

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