Statewide, Tennessee has seen a slight uptick in new daily cases per 100,000 population. When averaged over the previous 7 days, officials report 20 new cases statewide per 100,000 people this week.
West Tennessee and Upper Cumberland are still doing poorly. Knox County also shows a big spike in cases this week. Memphis and Chattanooga are doing okay. Nashville and Middle Tennessee are still fair but increasing. For an overview of Tennessee's reported COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic, see our color-coded case prevalence maps.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partner call on Monday, September 21, will update participants on the COVID-19 response, and announce new resources for the private sector and the general public. Dr. John Brooks, Chief Medical Officer for the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response, will provide updates on CDC’s COVID-19 response, including the latest scientific information. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Unit, will review CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Planning and share "What You Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccinations." Dr. Diane Hall, Deputy for Partnerships and Risk Management, CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response will moderate. Advance registration is required.
Tennessee reports its best new weekly case numbers since June.
Metros in general are doing better: Nashville 14.75 new cases/100K/day, Memphis 16.59, Knoxville 19.19, Chattanooga 21.57. Tennessee is fairly stable at 23.03 (was 20.81 a week ago; significantly better than 1 month ago when TN was at 36.69 new cases/100K/day). Rising cases in Wayne County (pinned to a prison with over 1,000 cases) increased the numbers for the state this week. South Central Tennessee (including Wayne County), West Tennessee, and Upper Cumberland not doing as well (over 35 new cases/day/100K). Color-coded COVID case prevalence maps are linked here.
Governor Lee issues Executive Order 60 extending the emergency power until October 28, 2020. See a summary of this and all orders here.
HHS extends pharmacist authority to issue vaccinations.
In yet another interim final rule released yesterday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) loosened limitations for calculating forgiveness for compensation of certain "owner-employees," but limited "non-payroll" costs eligible for forgiveness. These updates are critical for all PPP loan borrowers, but are especially important for those who are now seeking forgiveness after the conclusion of an 8-week covered period.
TMA was successful in special session passing two bills to significantly change the landscape of organized medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. It did this by working diligently to pass bills on telemedicine and liability control in the special session. To learn more about this please check out the upcoming edition of Topline.
As Tennessee moves towards general elections it is important to note that IMPACT, the political action arm of the association, was successful in 22 out of 23 races it supported. While many of these races do not have an opponent in the upcoming General Election, IMPACT needs your help to continue to push organized medicine's agenda and elect physicians and physician-friendly candidates across this state. IMPACT will be focusing heavily on Sen. Dr. Steve Dickerson’s race in Nashville. Dr. Dickerson is a TMA member and an anesthesiologist member of Nashville Academy of Medicine. You can donate to IMPACT here.
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the latest update to its Frequently Asked Questions document regarding payments from the Provider Relief Fund, established as part of the CARES Act to support providers responding to COVID-19. Additional resources can be found on the TMA COVID-19 resources page.
AMA issues letter to HHS regarding considerations for the general public seeking SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostic testing.
Thanks to the work of TMA, about 70% of the state is now under some form of mask requirement.
TMA is currently working in Special Session to secure the passage of two pieces of legislation to help with the pandemic. The first, Senate Bill 8003, would expand providers' ability to perform and utilize telehealth across the state. The second, Senate Bill 8002 would provide limited liability protection to healthcare workers and other essential business that must continue to operate during he pandemic.
As Tennessee moves towards general elections, it is important to note that IMPACT (the political action arm of the TMA) was successful in 22 out of 23 races it supported financially. While many of these races do not have a general opponent, IMPACT will continue to push organized medicine’s agenda and fight to elect physicians and physician-friendly candidates across Tennessee. IMPACT will be focusing heavily on Sen. Dr. Steve Dickerson’s race in Nashville. Dr. Dickerson is a TMA member and an anesthesiologist member of Nashville Academy of Medicine. To donate to IMPACT, click here
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued new guidance regarding reporting and auditing requirements that may impact providers and suppliers who retain payments received from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (Relief Fund). The guidance clarifies reporting requirements outlined in the Terms and Conditions (T&C) and the applicability of auditing requirements found in existing HHS regulations.
Governor Bill Lee has called the Tennessee General Assembly together for an August 10 special session to address COVID-related liability protections for Tennessee businesses and telehealth payments at parity. Both matters will potentially need member engagement through phone calls, emails and other action alerts. Please be watching for updates.
This afternoon, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department published a set of frequently asked questions concerning forgiveness of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The new FAQ's represent the first substantive guidance on PPP loan forgiveness since late June.
Tennessee continues to see its case counts rise in rural areas as Davidson and Shelby County cases see first significant decreases in a day over day comparison. With the major increases coming in rural counties
According to Gov. Lee more than 60% of Tennessee residents are now under a mask mandate of some kind. Keep up the local advocacy!
TMA continues to publish color-coded Case Prevalence maps illustrating which counties have been most impacted by COVID-19 since April. You can find these in our COVID-19 Resource Center.
Federal agencies recently changed how and where COVID reporting is made. The CDC previously tracked and published historical ICU data here. However, HHS recently unveiled a new tracking and reporting website for hospital data here.
Members are encouraged to complete the AMA’s Telehealth Impact Physician survey, supporting the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The goal of this project is to identify challenges and barriers to telehealth, determine additional resources needed, provide insights to federal and state policymakers, and identify gaps in current research. Participation in the 15-20 minute survey should be completed by August 13th, 2020.
The three TennCare Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) will waive all episodes of care risk-sharing payments in the upcoming final reports for the 2019 performance period. If a provider owes a final episode risk-sharing payment to an MCO based on their final 2019 episode results, the provider will not have to make that payment. More on the Episodes of Care program is available at this link.
HHS extended the deadline for eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations to apply for CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. Applications from eligible physicians who have not previously received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund must be received by August 3, 2020HHS has created a fact sheet explaining the application process and answering frequently asked questions.
Governor Bill Lee is expected to call the Tennessee General Assembly together for a special August session any day now, to address COVID-related liability protections for Tennessee businesses and telehealth payments at parity. Both matters will potentially need member engagement through phone calls, emails and other action alerts. Please be watching for upcoming alerts.
Dr. M. Kevin Smith's color-coded comparison maps illustrate which counties have been most impacted by COVID-19 since April.
TMA is working on drafts for the Special Session which we expect to take place on August 10th and pertain to telehealth, limited liability for COVID and special penalties for destruction of public structures and monuments.
Federal agencies recently changed how and where reporting is made. The CDC was previously tracking and publishing ICU data daily. At present, CDC trends and historical data can be found here. Meanwhile, officials recently unveiled a new HHS tracking and reporting website for hospital data here.
The Physician Support Line, created in March 2020 to provide free, confidential peer-to-peer support for MD’s/DO’s navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, has expanded to support any professional or personal subject relevant to physicians. The line is staffed by over 700 volunteer psychiatrists from across the country and has recently been added to the American Psychiatric Associations' Covid19 recommended mental health resources.
HHS extended the deadline for eligible Medicaid and CHIP physicians and organizations to submit information and apply for funding from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund from July 20 until August 3, 2020. HHS is distributing approximately $15 billion to eligible physicians who have not previously received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund.
Tennessee continues to see its diagnosed cases rise across the state in both rural and urban regions with a more than 9% increase daily.
The governor has announced his intention to call a special session to allow the legislature to address limiting liability and telehealth. We still expect this Special Session to be announced in July and take place the week of August 10. Both of these issues were left unresolved at the end of session. TMA is in support of limiting liability for physicians for the actions they took to protect the public health during this pandemic. TMA is also pushing hard for telehealth parity for its members
SBA issues new regulations frequently asked questions and recourses concerning the update of Paycheck Protection Act.
TMA issued a communication to county and city mayors across the state, expressing its support for face coverings. Click here to download the letter, which urged mayors to consider mask requirements, especially in areas of the state experiencing rapid increase in infections.
Tennessee sees its cases continue to rise in both rural and urban regions with more than 22,000 active cases statewide.
Governor Lee signs multiple Executive Orders in response to TMA and others' advocacy work. Executive Order 53 provides limited liability protection to healthcare workers through July. Executive Order 54 provides mayors throughout the state the authority to require citizens to wear masks in public places. This link provides a breakdown of pertinent executive orders issued during the pandemic and how they may effect the practice of medicine.
The governor has announced his intention to call a special session to allow the legislature to address limiting liability and other issues that were left unresolved at the end of session. TMA is in support of limiting liability for physicians for the actions they took to protect the public health during this pandemic. Help TMA with this effort by responding to its call to action now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 letter to Governor Lee - March 23, 2020
TMA letter to Mayors - March 27, 2020
TMA shares petition with members
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.
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.