Tuesday, June 30, 2020

  • Tennessee sees its highest number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic with more than three days of new cases at above 1,000. Illustrated maps are linked here.

  • Governor Lee extends his state of emergency until August 29. The order includes an extension of telehealth for all providers at suggested parity. A breakdown of this and other executive orders is here.

  • SBA issues new regulations to provide important initial guidance concerning the Flexibility Act, which is significant insofar as it extended the PPP loan forgiveness covered period to 24 weeks. This allows flexibility but also requires greater transparency in reporting.

  • July 7 is the deadline to register to vote. All Tennesseans can vote by absentee ballot as long as that ballot is submitted seven days before election day. To get an absentee ballot, click here.

  • Special session on coronavirus business protections not likely until at least August.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

  • Tennessee General Assembly wrapped up the 111th General Assembly at 3:14am Friday June 19th. While a special session is still a possibility lawmakers have returned home for now.

  • Governor Lee‘s announces that state has the most active COVID cases since the pandemic was announced, adding that Tennessee is also experiencing the most hospitalizations due to the virus. He has not set forth any new major policy initiatives outside of increased testing to address the issue.

  • SBA issues new regulations to provide important initial guidance concerning the Flexibility Act, which is significant insofar as it extended the PPP loan forgiveness covered period to 24 weeks. This allows lots of flexibility but does make some things publicly reportable. For more information, see our Fact Sheet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

  • Today the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Provider Relief Fund established as part of the CARES Act to help providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In this update, HHS provided new or modified FAQs regarding eligibility, rejecting payments, reporting requirements, balance billing, publication of payment data applicable to all categories of fund distributions, the Provider Relief Fund payment portal, the High Impact Area Targeted Distribution; the Skilled Nursing Facility Targeted Distribution; the Medicaid Targeted Distribution; and the Safety Net Hospitals Targeted Distribution. Also covered: overview, eligibility and additional payments under the General Distribution allocation to Medicare providers.

  • Tennessee General Assembly is looking to wrap up session activities with two large issues still unresolved -- telehealth and liability protection for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To see what TMA is doing with this and other legislative issues, sign up for our weekly Political Pulse newsletter.

Friday, June 12, 2020

  • SBA issues new regulations to provide important initial guidance concerning the Flexibility Act, which extended the PPP loan forgiveness covered period to 24 weeks. Importantly, the SBA and the Treasury clarified the Act's technical requirement that PPP loan borrowers use 60% of the PPP loan for payroll costs, which had become an additional source of angst for borrowers. For more information, download our Fact Sheet.

  • Governor Lee issues Executive Order 49 as Tennessee gets closer to returning to normal, allowing some visitation and other protocols in Tennessee Nursing Homes.

  • Dr. Parul Goyal, one of our TMA members at Vanderbilt, has helped develop the Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health's COVID-19 physician wellness web page to help physicians maintain all important mental health during the pandemic. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

  • Tennessee General Assembly is in week two of action on leftover bills from the previous session. TMA’s patient based solution to Balance Billing was taken off notice by the sponsor, Sen. Bo Watson, after it became clear it would not pass in Senate Commerce and Labor.  This leaves two TMA items on the agenda: telemedicine and liability protections during COVID-19. These bills can be tracked on the Tennessee General Assembly Website or by subscribing to TMA's biweekly legislative roundup, Political Pulse.

  • HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible physicians and organizations that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs but have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation. Starting June 10, HHS plans a portal to allow eligible physicians and organizations to report their annual patient revenue data and other necessary information to receive a payment equal to at least 2 percent of reported gross revenues from patient care. Our Fact Sheet here has more details.

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Tennessee General Assembly enters week two after taking action on leftover bills from the earlier session. While hundreds of bills met an untimely end, TMA still has three issues on the agenda: telemedicine, balance billing and liability protections during COVID-19. Those bills can be tracked on the Tennessee General Assembly Website or by subscribing to Political Pulse.

  • Congress passes the CARES FUND Relief Act changing some of the requirements around the use of the Paycheck Protection Plan. Find this and all other loan information on TMA’s Fact Sheet.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • COVID-19 uncertainty may prompt patients to contact physicians about absentee ballots to vote. To understand a physician’s role in the process, contact the TMA Legal Department to request our new resource on this topic.

  • United Healthcare announced COVID-19 telehealth service coverage and related cost-share waivers for Individual and fully insured Group Market health plan members are extended through July 24, 2020. They will adhere to state regulations for Medicaid plans.

  • The State Senate reconvened yesterday, to join the House of Representatives who reconvened last week.

  • The House passed a top priority bill on balance billing out of House Insurance Committee after testimony from TMA’s Director of Government Affairs, Julie Griffin, and Assistant Director, Ben Simpson.

  • A bill regarding telehealth payment parity passed the House and the Senate in different forms. The two chambers will be negotiating the differences. TMA supports the House version of the bill which guarantees payment parity. Contact your state legislator today.

  • The Coalition for Collaborative Care met via a conference call last week to solidify grassroots strategies for battling various scope of practice issues.

Friday, May 29, 2020

  • Tennessee General gavels into session and takes on big topics. TMA's #1 focus after the death of the independent practice bill is payment parity for telemedicine services. The House passed a bill with payment parity mandated, while the Senate version merely encourages it. Please urge your state legislators to vote for HB1699 because it supports patient’s equal access to care. Our automated legislator locator will help you take action now.

  • Legislature renews their invitation to Tennessee doctors for COVID-19 feedback. Please submit your feedback via our quick digital survey to keep the legislature informed about the impact COVID-19 has had on the medical community.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

  • Tennessee General Assembly returns to session. Three TMA items are on the agenda: Telemedicine, Balance Billing and Limited Liability Protections for COVID-19. These bills can be tracked on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website or subscribe to TMA’s Political Pulse newsletter.

  • Small Business Association releases loan forgiveness criteria and guidance for the Paycheck Protection Plan Program. Find our summary of the program, along with a link to the application for forgiveness, all other loan information, and stimulus payment information.

  • Legislature asks Tennessee doctors for COVID-19 feedback before session reconvenes. Please take our 4-minute survey to help inform legislators about the impact COVID-19 has had on the medical community.

  • Governor Lee‘s Executive Order 38 allows Tennesseans to return to near-normal living, as in before COVID-19. For analysis of this executive order and all others that may affect your medical practice, click here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

  • Path Group, a TMA member organization, offers a comprehensive COVID-19 Testing Program, which includes both diagnostic and antibody testing and has a 24-48 hour turnaround period. Members should contact ctate@pathgroup.com or phone 615.695.4946. Per the CARES Act, there is no out-of-pocket cost to the patient for either test.

  • The Tennessee General Assembly sets its restart date as May 26 and will work at least through June 14. Balance Billing and Telehealth are set to be considered in the shortened session.

  • Legislature asks Tennessee Doctors for COVID-19 feedback before session reconvenes. Help by taking our survey here.

  • HHS updates guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on Provider Relief Fund.

  • CMS addresses physician's concerns on CARES Act fund distribution. Find AMA's summary here.

  • Governor Lee issues Executive Order 37 and 38. We're tracking all executive orders still in effect with a synopsis of how they may affect you here

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

  • Governor Lee ‘s Executive Order 28, which allowed temporary independent practice to advanced practice registered nurses and physician’s assistants, ends. Collaboration with a physician reinstated. See what Executive Orders are still in effect by clicking here.

  • TMA is a member of the Tennessee Safe Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Coalition that has drafted legislation to limit liability for providers during the pandemic. This legislation is set to be introduced in the upcoming session starting May 25 and was proposed to Lt. Gov McNally today.

  • BCBST extends telemedicine coverage at parity indefinitely.

  • Small Business Administration releases loan forgiveness application. Find it and all the other loan information on TMA’s fact sheet.

  • Legislature asks Tennessee doctors for COVID-19 feedback before session reconvenes. Please take this survey to keep the legislature informed about the impact that COVID-19 has had on the medical community.

Friday, May 15, 2020

  • TMA is a member of the Tennessee Safe Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Coalition that has drafted legislation to limit liability for providers during the pandemic. This legislation is set to be introduced in the upcoming session starting May 25.

  • The AMA issues guidance to help physicians and the public understand the limitations of antibody testing.

  • Treasury issues new final interim rule on paycheck protection plan to see what you need to know check TMA’s fact sheet.

  • Legislature asks Tennessee doctors for COVID-19 feedback before session reconvenes. Please take this survey to keep the legislature informed about the impact that COVID-19 has had on the medical community.

  • Governor Lee issues Executive Order 35 and 36 allowing small venues to reopen and extends the guidelines and requests around telehealth. To find out what executive orders are still in effect and short synopsis of how they may affect you click here

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

  • TMA, along with the Tennessee Safe Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Coalition meet with House Leadership to ask for a bill in the upcoming session that will limit lawsuit liability to protect physicians and others for reasonable actions taken during the pandemic.

  • The General Assembly sets its restart date as May 26 and will work at least through June 1.

  • HERO trial seeks volunteers in Tennessee.

  • TMA Survey: Tell us how Covid-19 has affected your practice.

  • To find out what executive orders are still in effect and short synopsis of how they may affect you click here.

Friday, May 8, 2020

  • TMA joins the Tennessee Safe Business Recovery and Safe Harbor Coalition asking for both an Executive Order and legislation to address limited liability protections during the pandemic. To view letter, click here.

  • Give us your feedback on how COVID impacts your practice, take our survey by clicking here.

  • AMA issues guidelines for safe return to practice during the ongoing pandemic

  • Governor Lee issues Executive Order 34. To find out what executive orders are still in effect and a short synopsis of how they may affect you click here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

  • TMA Survey: Tell us how Covid-19 has affected your practice.

  • Medical Practices around the state open this week, see the guidance TMA gave to Governor Lee here.

  • Governor Executive Order 32 allows for telehealth in occupational and physical therapy settings.

  • Executive Order 33 allows for ‘close contact’ services to resume in most parts of the state. To find out what executive orders are still in effect and to view a short synopsis of how they may affect you click here.

Friday, May 1, 2020

  • In cooperation with Governor Lee, TMA issues guidance for performing non-essential medical procedures outside a hospital setting, find that guidance here.

  • TMA joins business coalition lead by Tennessee Chamber of Commerce seeking legislation for liability protection for doctors during future pandemics. The coalition hopes to file legislation when the Tennessee General Assembly returns this summer.

  • American Tort Reform Association issues guidance on liability landscape after COVID pandemic.

  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) issues new guidance on how to file for claims for uninsured treated during the pandemic.

  • Federal Reserve opens third lending option during the pandemic called the Main Street Lending Program.

  • Governor Lee issues Executive Order 31 delaying the opening of dental offices. Click here to find out what executive orders are still in effect and short synopsis of how they may affect you.

  • The 2020 Annual Episodes of Care Feedback Session will be held on May 20th. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this Session will be held virtually Click here to register. Providers are encouraged to submit feedback prior to the session. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

  • Governor Lee announces non-essential procedures may resume May 1, to see Executive Order click here.

  • AMA issues guidance on new COVID funding. To view, click here

  • HHS issues new guidance on CARES funding. View by clicking here.

  • How to file complaint for price gouging or improper practice through the Tennessee Department of Health, click here.

Friday, April 24, 2020

  • Congress passes more funding  to small business and additional funding for health care providers. Find what you need to know here.

  • TMA submits recommendations for re-opening state to Governor Lee; phased approach to be taken find the executive order here.

  • TMA works to get elective surgery and non-essential procedures up and running.

  • AMA and ASTHO put out roadmap to open the economy with a robust public health infrastructure:  

  • AMA continues push to get National Governor’s Association to adopt uniform liability protection considerations in all 50 states. Click hereto view.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

  • TMA offers guidance to Governor Lee and Economic Recovery Council on getting state back to work, click here to view.

  • TMA wants members to be prepared for future claims audits after the epidemic over the billing practices during this time period. For help, click here

  • Real problems with real property: Here is some guidance on rent, mortgages and leases during the pandemic, click here.

  • Governor Lee has issued 13 executive orders during the pandemic: TMA’s helpful guide and summary on how they impact your practice here.

  • AMA issues letter to National Governors' Association and all Governors requesting specific immunity protection for physicians dealing with COVID-19.

  • AMA updates its economic impact study of physicians to state economies as Congress considers a second round of funding to the CARES Act, click here to see update.

Friday, April 17, 2020

  • Governor Lee grants Advance Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants independent practice putting patients at risk during a pandemic, click here to see order.

  • TMA staff meet with Rep. Robin Smith and Rep. Dr. Bryan Terry to push for passage of telehealth parity when legislature reconvenes in June.

  • TDH and TEMA offer PPE to front line physicians, click here and use passcode 8362.

  • HHS clarifies that any physician who keeps the stimulus payment provided by the CARES Provider Relief Fund must complete the attestation and that funds are not limited to practitioners treating active COVID-19 cases. Any provider who may potentially encounter COVID patients or has lost revenue because of the COVID-19 crisis. The form can be found here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

  • Governor Lee works with TMA leadership to extend stay at home order until April 30, 2020. Click here to see order. To read TMA’s response click here.

  • TMA signs on to AMA letter regarding shortage of schedule II drugs used for COVID patients on ventilators.

  • Congress looks at second round of funding, TMA and AMA urge direct funding to physician practices as occurred under CARES.

  • Emergency Paid Sick leave ACT & Emergency Family leave Expansion ACT are still in effect while stay at home orders remain in place. Guidance can be found here.

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Governor Lee extends prohibition on non essential medical services to conserve PPE for front lines of COVID-19, click here to see order.

  • CMS releases $30 billion direct stimulus to healthcare practices and providers that treat Medicare or Medicaid patients. To see if you are eligible or calculate what your practice will receive read our fact sheet

  • Tennessee Department of Health begins weekly updates on COVID-19 for healthcare providers, click here to view updates.

  • Watch our Teleconference "Preparing for the Surge" produced with the Department of Health and metro medical societies here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • TMA sends letter to governor seeking to protect frontline healthcare providers during pandemic.

  • Governor announces 10 million in state funding to rural hospitals and providers along with lifted mental health restrictions for telemedicine treatment of mental health in most recent order.

  • State Chief Medical Examiner advises on new guidance on documentation of COVID deaths.

Friday, April 3, 2020

  • Governor Bill Lee issues statewide stay at home order following pressure from TMA and Tennessee providers; see TMA's response to Governor’s Stay at Home Order here.

  • SBA starts accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Loans through local banks; TMA’s fact sheet summarizing who can apply, what you need to apply and how to apply with links to all the
    pertinent forms can be found here.

TMA Public Actions

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

  • President Trump puts out new guidelines and modeling for USA Corona Virus.

  • President Trump, CDC, NIH extend the shelter in place guidance until April 30.

  • Governor Lee urges shelter in place until April 14 statewide and closes non-essential business.

  • Congress passes CARES Act offering $2 trillion in relief.

  • IPPS allows up to 100% of Medicare and Medicaid payments up front for Part A and Part B for 3 months.

  • SBA issued $250 billion for forgivable small business loans through Paycheck Protection Act.

  • SBA issued an additional $200 billion for Economic Disruption Loans.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

  • Governor Lee issues order to cancel all non-essential surgeries and medical procedures.

  • Congress moves forward to clear the way for COVID-19 stimulus vote.

  • President Trump issues guidance that he hopes borders will reopen by Easter (April 12, 2020).

  • A group of Tennessee physicians issued a letter to Governor Lee  asking for counties statewide to "shelter in place".


COVID-19 NEWS UPDATES 

Stay up-to-date on the most important information for physicians regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Find other coronavirus resources at tnmed.org/covid-19 as well as tnmed.org/telehealth-covid-19.