COVID-19 NEWS UPDATES 

Stay up-to-date on the most important information for physicians regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

  • This week, we are finally starting to see a continued downward trend in cases. Our statewide number today is at 12.10 new cases/100K/day over the past 7 days, the lowest it has been since June 28, 2020, when it was at 10.70. This represents a 25% decrease from last week. The COVID prevalence map is thankfully turning orange (5-10) and red (10-20).

  • As far as the regions go, the lowest rates of new cases are in Nashville/Davidson at 8.48 (the lowest in Nashville since April 16, 2020 when it was 6.25), Knoxville/Knox at 8.78 (the lowest in Knoxville since July 6, 2020, when it was 8.04), Upper Cumberland at 9.07 (the lowest since June 28, 2020, when it was 9.03) and South Central Tennessee at 9.59 (the lowest since July 2, 2020, when it was 8.57). The highest rate was in Northeast Tennessee at 17.27, followed by Memphis/Shelby at 14.78, West Tennessee at 13.24, Chattanooga/Hamilton at 12.98, Southeast Tennessee at 12.81, East Tennessee at 11.55 and Mid-Cumberland at 10.58. Hopefully this represents the final gradual slowing of cases going forward.

  • Vaccination rates are slowing in Tennessee due to apparent vaccine hesitancy or avoidance. While hospitalizations have slowed, we are still seeing too many middle-age people getting sick and some are still dying with COVID. Anyone over the age of 16 is currently able to get a vaccine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

  • We are steady in the 16-18 new cases per 100K per day range. However, our Tennessee state-wide number today is 17.65 new cases/100K/day; last week it was 15.78, two weeks ago 15.67, three weeks ago 18.92 and one month ago 19.15. Our positivity rate today was up to 9.45% (had been running in the 6-7% range past few weeks). The COVID prevalence map is mostly bright red (10-20 cases).

  • As far as the Metro counties and other regions go, the only real trouble spot is Northeast Tennessee with 27.01 new cases/100K/day. The lowest case rates are in West Tennessee at 11.34, followed by Upper Cumberland at 11.92, Knoxville/Knox at 12.74, East Tennessee at 14.70 and South Central Tennessee at 14.98. In the middle are Mid-Cumberland at 19.13, Southeast Tennessee at 17.45, Nashville/Davidson at 16.58, Memphis/Shelby at 16.35 and Chattanooga/Hamilton at 15.57.

  • On the vaccination side, TDOH reports today that 2,130,086 Tennesseans (31.5% of population) have received at least one dose of vaccine and 1,311,660 (19.4%) are fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer/Moderna or one dose of J&J). We have had 826,371 Tennesseans test positive for COVID (12.2% of population). At the minimum, 19.1% of population should be immune (either natural or fully vaccinated). If the ratio of total COVID cases to positive cases is 2.72 as suggested by some seroprevalence studies, then perhaps 33.2% of population has natural immunity; this combined with 31.5% of population having at least one vaccination would give perhaps 64.7% herd immunity at this time (though there is some overlap between natural and vaccinated immunity in people who have had COVID also being vaccinated).

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

  • We remained stable this week at 15.78 new cases/100K/day over the past 7 days for the state. The COVID prevalence map reflects this trend with a mix of red and yellow shades.

  • In the regions and Metro counties, the only region with over 20 new cases/100K/day is Northeast Tennessee at 23.12; Mid-Cumberland is in second at 19.67. On the low end of new cases, Memphis/Shelby is the best at 10.53, followed by West Tennessee at 11.13, East Tennessee at 12.29, Chattanooga/Hamilton at 13.65 and Knoxville/Knox at 14.00. In the middle are Nashville/Davidson at 17.31, Southeast Tennessee at 17.19, South Central Tennessee at 16.30 and Upper Cumberland at 16.26.

  • As far as vaccinations go, TDOH reports that 1,920,313 Tennesseans have received at least one dose of vaccine (28.4% of population) and 1,123,920 (16.6%) are fully vaccinated (two dose of Pfizer/Moderna or one dose of J&J).

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

  • Our statewide number of new cases/100k/day averaged over the past 7 days has improved slightly to 15.67; one week ago we were at 18.92 (a 17.2% decrease the past week). The COVID prevalence map is still showing a mix of mostly red and yellow shades. We'll see if this is the start of the slow decline in cases with herd immunity improving in the next few weeks.

  • As far as the regions and larger Metro counties go this week, the fewest new cases are still in West Tennessee at 9.72 new cases/100K/day, followed by Memphis/Shelby at 10.99, Upper Cumberland at 12.44 and East Tennessee at 13.78. The areas with the highest numbers of new cases are Mid-Cumberland at 21.12, Southeast Tennessee at 20.38 and Northeast Tennessee at 19.76. The areas in the middle are South Central Tennessee at 17.74, Nashville/Davidson at 17.37, Knoxville/Knox at 16.52 and Chattanooga/Hamilton at 14.86.

  • On the vaccination front, TDOH reports that 1,718,619 Tennesseans (25.4% of population) have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and 961,428 (14.2% of population) are fully vaccinated (two doses of Pfizer/Moderna or one dose of J&J). Approximately 2.5% of population are being fully vaccinated per week.

  • Thus far, 810,529 Tennesseans have tested positive for COVID (12.0% of population). If 2.72 times as many people have actually had COVID compared to those who have tested positive (as seroprevalence studies in Nov. have suggested), then perhaps 2,204,639 Tennesseans (32.6% of population) may have natural immunity at this point; when combined with partially vaccinated immunity (at least one shot) that would give us possibly 58.0% herd immunity at this point.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

  • We have plateaued at around 18-19 new cases/100K/day past several weeks. Today's number in Tennessee is 18.92; three weeks ago it was 19.04. We have recorded less than 20 new cases/100K/day for the past 22 days (since March 1). The COVID prevalence map is primarily a mix of red and yellow shades, just like last week. This plateau may reflect a balance between relaxing distancing and masking along with increasing vaccination numbers. Alternatively, we may see bumps with variants at some point.

  • As far as the regions and Metro counties go, West Tennessee continues to have the fewest new cases at 9.44/100K/day, followed by Memphis/Shelby at 11.14, Upper Cumberland at 14.49 and Knoxville/Knox at 15.69. The highest new cases are in Southeast Tennessee at 26, followed by Mid-Cumberland at 22.82, East Tennessee at 21.58 and Nashville/Davidson at 20.32. In the middle are Chattanooga/Hamilton at 19.25, Northeast Tennessee at 17.89 and South Central Tennessee at 16.13.

  • On the vaccination front, the TDOH reports that as of today 1,463,283 Tennesseans (21.6%) have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 788,106 (11.6%) are fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of J&J. About 1.2% of population is getting fully vaccinated per week at this time. The amount of vaccine available is increasing and as of April 5, and TDOH reports that they plan for anyone over age 16 to be eligible for vaccine.

  • Thus far we have 803,104 reported positive COVID cases in Tennessee (11.9% of population). If the multiple of actual cases per positive cases is 2.72 as suggested by seroprevalence studies in Nov., then perhaps 32.4% of population has actually had COVID. If the multiple is closer to 5 as suggested by some recent CDC studies, then up to 59.5% of population may have had COVID. Adding the vaccinated immune population, at least 23.5% should be immune (positive cases plus fully vaccinated); perhaps 54% may be at least partially immune (32.4% estimated natural immunity plus 21.6% at least partially vaccinated). On the most optimistic side, up to 81.1% may be immune (59.5% natural immunity plus 21.6% partially vaccinated immunity).

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

  • Our new cases/100K/day over past 7 days have really levelled off the past two weeks, as reflected on theCOVID prevalence map. Today's number in Tennessee is 18.77; last week it was 18.79, two weeks ago it was 19.04; one month ago it was 25.45 (a 35.6% decrease), and two months ago it was at 72.58 (a 74.1% decrease).

  • As far as the regions and Metro counties go, West Tennessee continues to have the fewest new cases at 9.44/100K/day followed by Memphis/Shelby at 11.14, Upper Cumberland at 14.49 and Knoxville/Knox at 15.69. The highest new cases were in Southeast Tennessee at 26 followed by Mid-Cumberland at 22.82, East Tennessee at 21.58 and Nashville/Davidson at 20.32. In the middle were Chattanooga/Hamilton at 19.25, Northeast Tennessee at 17.89 and South Central Tennessee at 16.13.

  • On the vaccination front, TDOH reports 1,306,226 Tennesseans (19.3% of population) have received at least one shot, and 701,316 (10.4% of population) are fully immunized (either two shots of Pfizer/Moderna or one shot of J&J). Thus far 794,137 Tennesseans have tested positive for COVID (11.7% of population). Thus at least 22.1% should have immunity (natural tested positive or fully immunized). If the multiple of real COVID infections vs positive tests is 2.72 (as suggested by seroprevalence studies in Nov.), then perhaps 51.1% of Tennesseans have some immunity (31.8% perhaps natural and 19.3% at least partially vaccinated). If the multiple is closer to 5 times real infections vs tested positive, then up to 77.8% might have some immunity (58.5% natural and 19.3% vaccinated). Of course, some people who have been vaccinated are also in the estimated natural immunity category, so the real number is not likely that high.

  • Nevertheless, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. Our weekly deaths in Tennessee over the past 7 days were down to 62 today (the lowest since July 7).

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

  • Our decline in new cases has slowed this week and is reflected on the COVID prevalence map. Our Tennessee statewide number is at 18.79 new cases/100k/day over the past 7 days compared to 19.04 one week ago. We have decreased 44.7% in the past month and 79.0% in the past two months. We have had less than 20 new cases/100K/day for the past 8 straight days, the first time that has occurred since July 3 last year.

  • TDOH reports that 1,082,852 Tennesseans have gotten at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (16.0% population), and 601,559 have either gotten two doses of Pfizer/Moderna or one dose of the J&J vaccine (8.9% population).

  • Deaths and hospitalizations continue to decline, as well. As of March 8, we had 135 COVID deaths in the past 7 days, the lowest reported weekly deaths since Sept. 23. Everything continues to move in the right directions as vaccinations increase and cases slowly decline.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

  • Today was actually the lowest daily case count in the state since June 22 at 644 cases. The statewide number of new cases per 100K per day over the past 7 days today is 19.04, the best it has been since Oct. 4 (excluding last week with the wintry weather effects and closed testing sites). The COVID prevalence map has no black counties (50-100), and features mostly red (10-20), darker red (20-30) and even some areas of orange (5-10). New cases have declined 25% in the past 2 weeks, 44.0% in the past 3 weeks, 52.4% in the past month and 79.1% in the past two months.

  • Among the regions, West Tennessee is the best with only 9.35 new cases/100K/day. Memphis/Shelby moves to second place with 14.24, and Nashville is at 19.76. The areas with the highest numbers are Knoxville/Knox with 26.99, Southeast Tennessee with 23.06, Mid-Cumberland with 22.25 and East Tennessee with 21.36.

  • As far as vaccinations this week, TDOH reports that 933,250 Tennesseans have received at least one dose of vaccine (13.8% of population) and 498,567 have received two doses (7.4%). The state really worked to catch up on vaccination after the wintry weather week before by giving 164,470 first doses (2.4% of population) and 104,162 second doses (1.5% of population). Our average number of first vaccinations per week the past 4 weeks is at 111,668 per week (1.6% population). We should see this number of vaccinations/week increase further with the newly approved Johnson&Johnson vaccine arriving this month.

  • As far as potential herd immunity goes, the most conservative estimate would be 18.9%, counting 11.5% with natural immunity (776,337 total cases) and 7.4% with full vaccine immunity (498,567 with two doses). If the multiplier of real COVID cases vs tested positive cases is 2.72 (as suggested by seroprevalence data from Nov.) and we count first vaccine with some immunity, then we would have 31.3% natural immunity and 13.8% with partial vaccinated immunity for estimated herd immunity of 45.1%. If we use a multiplier of 5 times real vs tested positive cases as suggested by a recent CDC report, then we would have up to 57.5% would possibly have natural immunity and 13.8% would have partial vaccinated immunity for a possible herd immunity of 71.3%.

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021

  • The COVID prevalence map this week is more representative of true county positive cases after the TDOH reassignment of cases last week has ended. However, the wintry weather last week has probably created lower than actual case rates due to closed testing sites most of last week, especially in West and Middle Tennessee.

  • With that being said, our map looks better this week than it has in a long time. Our statewide number of new cases/100K/day over the past 7 days has decreased to 16.44, the lowest statewide number since Sept. 13. Our vaccinations were also lower statewide at only 69,020 receiving their first dose (down from 98,754 last week), larger due to closed vaccination centers due to the weather. We should see much better vaccination numbers this week and in the weeks to come as vaccine production ramps up and new vaccines get approved.

  • Thus far, 11.4% of Tennesseans have gotten at least the first dose of the COVID vaccine and 5.8% have gotten both doses. 11.3% of our population has tested positive since the start of the pandemic, so as of this week we have more vaccinated than tested positive. If the ratio of true COVID cases vs positive tested for COVID is 2.72 (as suggested by seroprevalence data in Nov.), then we have 30.7% natural immunity and 11.4% vaccinated immunity for estimated herd immunity of 42.1%. If, as the CDC suggested this week, as many as 5 times have natural immunity vs positive tests, then we would have up to 56.5% of population with natural immunity and up to 67.9% with total herd immunity.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

  • Tennessee's number of new cases/100K/day has declined to 25.45 today. One week ago we were at 33.98 (25.1% decrease); two weeks ago we were at 40.00 (36.4% decrease); three weeks ago we were at 47.69 (46.6% decrease); and one month ago we were at 72.58 (64.9% decrease). With the inclement wintry weather the past two days, testing will likely decline and with it new cases in the next few days. Since the reported cases are usually 2-3 days delayed, today's numbers likely do not reflect any decreased testing due to closed sites yet.

  • Unfortunately, the COVID prevalence map is unreliable as a true indicator of disease activity this week. While we have had 12,061 new cases in Tennessee this week, the TDOH has reassigned 9,946 cases from the pending category to individual counties, which has made the map much darker than real new cases. Also, some cases have been reassigned from one county to another making some counties have negative numbers this week and other mostly rural counties appearing to have very high case rates. TDOH has another 15,539 in the pending bucket, so I am not sure how long this reassignment of cases will take place. The map looks much worse than reality at this point.

  • Thankfully deaths have declined to 323 this week, down from peak of 944 weekly deaths on Feb. 5. As more elderly Tennesseans are vaccinated, we should see hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline.

  • As of today, TDOH reports 699,760 Tennesseans (10.3% of population) have gotten at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 334,247 (4.9% of population) have received two doses. We are giving about 100,000 first dose vaccines per week (about 1.5% of population). Thus far, 759,523 Tennesseans have tested positive for COVID (11.2% of population). If we consider that perhaps 2.72 times as many people who have tested positive have actually had COVID (asymptomatic or not tested) as suggested by the CDC commercial lab seroprevalence data from November, then perhaps 2,065,903 Tennesseans have actually had COVID (30.5% of population).

  • An ultraconservative estimate of immunity (actual positive cases plus fully vaccinated) would be 11.2% with natural immunity and 4.9% with vaccinated immunity or 16.1% immune. Another estimate would be that 30.5% may have had the virus (tested positive times multiple of seropositive/tested positive in November), and 10.3% have had at least one vaccine for a total of 40.8% estimated immunity. This would be consistent with the declining numbers of cases we are seeing as we are on the declining side of the case curve as we approach more herd immunity.

Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

  • The state-wide number of new cases/100K/day today is at 33.98, which is the lowest since Nov. 6. New cases per day averaged over 7 days have decreased by 15% past 1 week, 29% past 2 weeks, 44% past 3 weeks and 62% past month.

  • According to the COVID prevalence map, Nashville/Davidson (29.95) and Memphis/Shelby (27.28) are both in darker red (less than 30 new cases/100K/day) for the first time since Nov. 6. All regions except Southeast Tennessee have seen improvement in the past week (SE TN went from 39.49 to 43.15); Chattanooga/Hamilton is at 41.49. The lowest regions are Northeast Tennessee at 22.76; Upper Cumberland at 27.98; and West Tennessee at 24.55.

  • On the vaccine front, 114,427 new Tennesseans got their first dose of COVID vaccine this week (1.69% of population) and 69,768 got their second dose (1.03% of population). Overall, 601,006 (8.88% of population) have received at least one dose and 273,867 (4.04% of population) have received both doses of vaccine.

  • Thus far, 747,462 people have tested positive for COVID (11.04% of population). If the ratio of total COVID cases/COVID positive cases is 2.72 (according to data from prior seropositive prevalence data from commercial labs in November), then an estimated 2,018,147 (or 29.8% of population) Tennesseans may have already had COVID (thus have immunity). By adding to that number with the amount of people who have received at least one vaccine (8.88%), then it is possible that 38.7% of population might have some COVID immunity at this point. A most conservative estimate of immunity would be 747,462 positive cases plus 273,867 fully vaccinated for 1,021,329 immune Tennesseans (15% of population).

  • Unfortunately, 731 Tennessean COVID deaths were reported this week, and we hit a peak of new deaths per 7 days at 944 on Feb. 5. Our total state death toll is up to 10,631 as of today.

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

  • The COVID prevalence map continues to show dark red (20-30) and maroon (30-50) rather than black (50-100). Our statewide number of new cases/100K/day today is at 40.00 which is a 16% decrease past one week, a 34% decrease past two weeks and a 56% decrease past three weeks.

  • Our regions and larger Metro counties range from a low of 30.01 in Northeast Tennessee to a high of 46.35 in Chattanooga/Hamilton County.

  • Unfortunately, we are still seeing significant numbers of deaths per week at 738 past 7 days, slightly down from a peak of 791 on Jan. 31, which likely represents the delayed effects of the tremendous spike in cases at the end of December. Our statewide hospitalizations continue to improve to 1547 (down from 54% from the peak of 3344 on Jan. 6th); ICU admissions and ventilated patients are also trending downward.

  • The TDOH reports that as of yesterday 486,579 people (7.2% of population) have received at least one COVID vaccine, and 204,099 people (3.0% of population) have received two vaccines. Our first-time vaccination rate is averaging 78,352 per week (about 1.2% of population). Today, we stand at 731,360 total cases in Tennessee (10.8% of population). If we just go by total cases and fully immunized persons, then 13.8% of people should be immune at this point.

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

  • Our new COVID case rates in Tennessee continue to decline and the COVID prevalence map continues to show more red counties daily. Our statewide number of new cases/100K/day today is 47.69, with a decline of 22% past week, a 48% decline past two weeks and a 56% decline past 1 month. Our peak on Dec. 18 was 142.20, so we have decreased by 66% over the past 6 weeks. 

  • The TDOH continues to vaccinate about 1% of the Tennessee population per week and this will add up with time.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021

  • As shown on the COVID prevalence map, we are trending downward in new cases and are now approaching the level of cases prior to Thanksgiving. The statewide number of new cases/100K/day is 61.05 and is steadily declining. This is a decrease of 33% in the past week, 39% past 2 weeks and 53% past 4 weeks. The last day that we had new cases/100k/day below 70 was 63.24 on Nov. 30.

  • The county with the lowest number of new cases the past week is Memphis/Shelby at 45.77, followed by Northeast Tennessee at 46.66 and West Tennessee at 49.95.

  • The highest new cases rates are in East Tennessee at 70.81, with Chattanooga/Hamilton county at 70.67, Southeast Tennessee at 66.64, South Central Tennessee at 60.25, Upper Cumberland at 60.17, Nashville/Davidson county at 58.91, Mid-Cumberland at 58.63 and Knoxville/Knox county at 54.90. The map reflects this with dark red (30-50 new cases/100K/day) in West Tennessee and Northeast Tennessee. Thus far in Tennessee there have been 10,189 total cases/100K (10.19%).

  • Studies from blood samples in Tennessee taken in November suggested 2.5 times as many people had antibodies compared to those who had tested positive. If this is true, then we could be at 25% with prior COVID infection now. Vaccinations are proceeding at about 70,000 vaccines per week (1% of population) and TDOH reports 317,098 have had at least one vaccine as of yesterday (or 4.7% of population). If true herd immunity requires 70% of people to be immune, then we may be approaching the half-way mark nearing 35%. Interestingly, cases are declining slightly faster in counties which have the highest numbers of total cases, suggesting that we may be seeing some herd immunity effects.

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021

  • According to the COVID prevalence map, Tennessee has leveled out new cases this past week between 89 and 100 new cases/100K/day. Today's statewide number is 91.21 new cases/100K/day. Deaths the past 7 days peaked on Sunday at 760 statewide (we were at 744 today).

  • TDOH is reporting 271,575 vaccinations thus far with 24,994 people receiving the second dose. With total cases at 660,874, the vaccinated population is quickly gaining ground. Current pace of vaccinations in Tennessee is averaging about 70,000 per week the past 3 weeks since the Moderna vaccine was approved in addition to the Pfizer vaccine.

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021

  • Tennessee is starting to trend back up on the COVID prevalence map after the holidays. Statewide, we are now at 95.08 new cases/100K/day over the past 7 days. A week ago we were at 81.39.

  • While we are not the worst state in the country for new cases now, we are still very high and the map is mostly black (50-100 new cases/100K/day) and gray (over 100 new cases/100K/day). We can expect a surge in cases the next two weeks after the holiday gatherings similar to what we saw in December after Thanksgiving.

  • Vaccines are progressing slower than hoped, but today the TDOH reports that 169,000 people have gotten first dose of COVID vaccine. All counties, except Davidson and Shelby, are starting to offer vaccine to those 75 and older.

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020

  • The COVID prevalence map is back to mostly black with 81.39 new cases/100k/day over the past 7 days. It is much improved from our gray map with peak at 142.20 new cases/100K/day on Dec. 18. Very likely, this is a false sense of improvement given decreased testing over the holiday weekend and increased positivity at over 22%.

  • The larger Metro regions (70.94) still average lower new cases/100K/day than the more rural regions (77.98) but the difference is not so large. Among the more rural regions, East Tennessee has the highest new cases/100K/day at 86.41, followed by South Central Tennessee at 82.89, Upper Cumberland at 79.35, Southeast Tennessee at 79.19, West Tennessee at 74.03, Mid-Cumberland at 73.93 and Northeast Tennessee at 70.04. Among the larger Metro counties, Chattanooga/Hamilton leads at 88.39 followed by Knoxville/Knox at 76.88, Nashville/Davidson at 65.18 and Memphis/Shelby at 53.29.

  • To date 79,282 Tennesseans have received first COVID shot thus far (1171.08/100K). We have had 572,589 total cases (8457.73/100K). As vaccine numbers rise, we can only guess at when we will reach the threshold for herd immunity, but hope is on the distant horizon.

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020

  • We had a really bad week this week and by far the worst yet for new cases as shown on the COVID prevalence map. Although our new cases/100K/day statewide this week is only up 3.6%, we hit our peak thus far on Dec. 18 at 142.20. We also had our single worst day peak on Dec. 16 at 11,410; our peak new cases over 7 days at 67,389 on Dec. 18; our peak deaths per day on Dec. 17 at 177; and our peak deaths over 7 days at 654 (today). We had our peak hospitalizations on Dec. 16t at 2,899; peak ICU cases at 758 on Dec 20; and our peak ventilated patients at 399 on Dec 21.

  • The best news of the week is the start of COVID vaccinations across the state. TDOH reports 24,236 vaccinations this first week of vaccines. Hope is on the way but it will take a long time to get everyone vaccinated.

  • The larger Metro counties (average 104.45) are still having lower cases/100K/day than the more rural regions (average 132.09). Among the more rural regions, Upper Cumberland has the highest new cases per day/100K at 151.44, followed by South Central Tennessee at 147.62, East Tennessee at 141.20, Southeast Tennessee at 135.79, Mid-Cumberland at 121.42, West Tennessee at 114.17 and finally Northeast Tennessee at 112.98.

  • Among the larger Metro counties, Chattanooga/Hamilton has the highest number at 127.96, followed by Knoxville/Knox at 113.66, Nashville/Davidson at 102.82, and Memphis/Shelby at only 73.34.

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

  • As a state, our number of new cases/100K/day averaged over the past 7 days is at an all-time high of 122.65. We were only second to Rhode Island as of Dec. 13, so we are most likely the worst state in the country for new cases now. The COVID prevalence map now features a new shade of light gray representing over 200 new cases/100K/day. 

  • TDOH has reported 58,126 new cases in Tennessee the past week, which represents 12.3% of total COVID cases in the state since the pandemic began. At 122.65 new cases/100K/day and assuming an infectious period of 10 days, one out of every 81 Tennesseans is currently infectious with the virus.

  • According to the TDOH, yesterday's COVID hospitalizations in Tennessee were at an all-time high at 2,821, COVID ICU patients at all-time high of 705, and ventilated patients near all-time high at 353 (highest was 354 on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13). As of yesterday, hospital capacity was at 13% and ICU capacity at 9%, but it is unclear if total represents available beds with staff or licensed beds. Deaths the past 7 days in Tennessee hit an all-time high yesterday at 532.

  • The rural regions (averaging 129.58 new cases/100K/day) are much worse than the larger Metro counties (averaging 93.67); despite having much higher population density, our larger cities are not seeing the same rate of new cases compared to the rural areas.

Friday, Dec. 11, 2020

  • This week's COVID prevalence map is without color; every county in black (50-100 new cases/100K/day) or gray (over 100 new cases/100K/day); no red of any shade.

  • The state-wide Tennessee number is 92.12 new cases/100K/day averaged over past 7 days which is a 21.6% increase from last week's 75.74.  We have had 43,654 new cases reported past 7 days, which is 10% of the total cases thus far in the pandemic: 1/10 of all coronavirus cases in Tennessee have been diagnosed in the past 7 days. Our weekly deaths hit a high at 483 on Wednesday (451 today). Hospitalizations as of Dec. 10 are all time high at 2,640 with 675 in ICU and 330 ventilated patients (highest was Dec. 5 at 335).

  • The smaller non-Metro regions (98.52 new cases/100K/day) are still having higher cases than the larger Metro counties (70.60). In the non-Metro regions, South Central Tennessee leads the way with 116.58, followed by Southeast Tennessee at 106.00, Upper Cumberland at 102.55, East Tennessee at 99.41, Northeast Tennessee at 90.78, West Tennessee at 87.45 and Mid-Cumberland at 86.89.

  • Among the larger Metro counties, Knoxville/Knox leads at 83.94 followed by Chattanooga/Hamilton at 74.82, Nashville/Davidson at 68.54 and Memphis/Shelby at 55.10.

  • Keep in mind that at 100 new cases/100K/day and assuming people could be infectious for 10 days, that means 1 out of every 100 people would be infectious with the virus. The vaccine will arrive next week for healthcare workers, but we need to find a way to convince people to wear masks, stay socially distant and avoid any gatherings if we hope to lower these cases at all in the weeks ahead.

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

  • This week the COVID prevalence map is diffusely black (50-100 new cases/100K/day) with spots of maroon (30-50) and gray (over 100). Today is another peak day  in Tennessee with 72.45 new cases/100K/day averaged over the last 7 days. The prior peak was on Nov 18th at 67.14. TDOH reported almost 8,000 new cases in Tennessee on 11/30/20, with more than 34,000 new cases reported this week. 

  • Keep in mind that if a person is infectious for 10 days, then at 100/100K/day that means 1 out of every 100 people is infectious with COVIDand that's only among those who have been tested. At 72.45, where the state is now, at least 1 out of every 138 Tennesseans is infectious with COVID.

  • Tennessee's more rural regions (at 77.22 new cases/100K/day) continue to have higher cases than the larger Metro counties (at 59.70). The worst region this week is South Central Tennessee at 94.85, followed by Southeast Tennessee at 88.30, Northeast Tennessee at 74.99, East Tennessee at 74.25, Mid-Cumberland at 71.90, Upper Cumberland at 69.52, and West Tennessee at 66.71.
  • Among the larger Metro counties, Nashville/Davidson is worst at 63.55, followed closely by Knoxville/Knox at 63.03 and Chattanooga/Hamilton at 62.94, with Memphis/Shelby still just barely in darkest red at 49.26.
  • If Tennesseans do not start following TMA's Prescription Against COVID-19,  we can anticipate continued growth in case numbers, continued strain on our hospitals and ICUs, and continued increases in COVID deaths (especially among the elderly and chronic disease patients). 

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

  • The TMA launched its six-point "Prescription Against COVID" public awareness campaign to influence behavior across the state. The prescription reminds Tennesseans to wash their hands, keep physically distant from others, properly wear a face mask at all times in public, get a flu, and a COVID vaccine when it becomes available. The prescriptive model also calls for a COVID Code of Conduct within social circles to reduce infection and viral spread,  

  • Our COVID case prevalence map  is a little better this week, primarily due to lower case numbers the past few days combined with being over a week since the over 7,500+ and two 5000+ case days reported by TDOH the prior week when they were catching up on a backlog of case reports. The Tennessee state-wide number of new cases/100K/day remains at 53.02, and thus we are still in the black as a state. On November 18th we hit a peak at 67.14.

  • The larger Metro counties (average 38.47) are still seeing much lower new case numbers than the non-Metro regions (average 56.49).  

  • Leading the way in the non-Metro regions with new cases this week is West Tennessee at 69.30 new cases/100K/day, followed by Upper Cumberland at 59.16, South Central Tennessee at 58.33, Northeast Tennessee at 57.25, Mid-Cumberland at 54.24, East Tennessee at 53.76, and Southeast Tennessee at 43.36.

  • Among the larger Metro counties, Nashville/Davidson has the highest new cases at 43.63 followed by Chattanooga/Hamilton at 40.20, Knoxville/Knox at 37.21, and Memphis/Shelby at 32.82. 

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

  • We are currently at a peak in COVID-19 cases in Tennessee this week with 49.36 new cases/100K/day statewide. The previous peak was yesterday at 48.92. The previous surge peak was on August 1 at 36.69.

  • The Tennessee Medical Association issued a second, and more urgent appeal to County Mayors across the state late calling for the implementation of mask requirements. In a letter dated Thursday, Nov. 5, TMA's president and 17 additional physicians in statewide leadership roles for the organization, urgently asked County Mayors in high-risk counties with high case counts to please utilize the authority Gov. Bill Lee gave them to implement mask requirements immediately."

  • Our Coronavirus Case Prevalence Map is significantly darker this week with more darkest red (30-50 new cases/100K/day) and black colored counties (over 50 new cases/100K/day).  Non-Metro regions still have the highest cases including South Central Tennessee at 66.27, Upper Cumberland at 57.80, West Tennessee at 57.04, Mid-Cumberland at 51.49, Northeast Tennessee at 49.80, East Tennessee at 41.50, and Southeast Tennessee at 37.41.

  • Of Tennessee's Metro counties, Nashville/Davidson registered 47.67, Chattanooga/Hamilton 39.96, Memphis/Shelby 36.64, and Knoxville/Knox 36.01 new cases/100K/day.

  • The TMA continues to update our COVID resources page, which we encourage you to use any and all materials there to help convince the the public to wear masks and get their flu shots.

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

  • The pandemic appears to be peaking across the entire state at once. Hospital and ICU capacities are also peaking and the state reports just 12% available ICU beds and 17% available floor beds today. 

  • Tennessee is at 38.42 new cases/100K/day, hitting a peak thus far of 39.76 new cases/100K/day this past Sunday. The state's new case rate has been above our prior peak of 36.69 (from August 1st) for the past 5 consecutive days (almost 18,000 new cases per week) and we set an all-time weekly death high of 255 today.

  • All counties are now in red or darker (over 10 new cases/100K/day) on our COVID case prevalence maps, which was the threshold for TMA recommending county mayors to issue mask requirements back in July.

  • Of the Metro counties, new cases per 100K per day include: Nashville/Davidson County 46.64, Memphis/Shelby County 35.60, Knoxville/Knox County 31.32, Chattanooga/Hamilton County is at 29.61, Sullivan County 54.18, Madison County 32.35.

  • The non-metro areas continue very high case rates: South Central Tennessee 51.01, Northeast Tennessee, 49.86, Upper Cumberland, 49.17, West Tennessee, 48.90, Mid-Cumberland, 38.14, Southeast Tennessee 37.15, East Tennessee 34.73.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

  • As a state, Tennessee has seen a sharp increase in cases this week from 22.71 new cases/100K/day on Oct 6 to 28.39 today (an increase in new cases/day of 25% past week and 42% past two weeks). The map is significantly darker as a result. Yesterday, Tennessee registered 29.51, which is the highest new cases/100K/day rate since August 3rd; our peak was at 36.69 on August 1st.

  • Nationally, 34 states and DC have mask mandates and their current new case average is 15.27 as of yesterday.  Of the 16 states without mask mandates (including Tennessee), their current new case average is 28.81 (88.7% higher than the mask mandate states). It's important to note that almost all of Tennessee's mask mandates in rural counties have expired.

  • Among the Metros, Memphis is still holding fairly good at 17.57, Nashville is at 22.92, Chattanooga is at 22.43, and Knoxville is at 27.76. Among the non-Metro regions, Upper Cumberland is still very high at 45.16, West Tennessee is about the same at 38.25, South Central Tennessee (36.04) and Northeast Tennessee (32.11) are much worse, and all the other regions are between 20 and 30 new cases/100K/day. We are not winning this war and it could get much worse if we do not get people to wear masks and socially distant better. I looked at states with and without mask mandates today.

  • West Tennessee and Upper Cumberland are still doing poorly. Knox County also shows a big spike in cases this week. Memphis and Chattanooga managing. Nashville and Middle Tennessee are still fair but increasing.        

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020

  • A new spike in cases may be starting as Tennessee has increased to 22.71 new cases/100K/day from 19.97 a week ago.  The larger Metro counties (Memphis 14.03), Nashville (14.87), Knoxville (18.33), Chattanooga (18.04) continue to manage with less than 20 new cases/100K/day. More rural counties are surpassing 20 new cases/100K/day in (58 today vs. 53 last week), and more than 30 new cases/100K/day (41 compared to 30 last week).

  • West Tennessee (37.59) and Upper Cumberland (39.05) still lead the regions in new cases while other rural areas in Mid-Cumberland (20.23), South Central Tennessee (27.36), Southeast Tennessee (22.64), and East Tennessee (21.86) are also steady or increased.

  • Mask mandates continue to expire in many counties and perhaps this is a contributing factor to rising cases. .

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020

  • 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.       

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

  • 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.

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2020

  • 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

Thursday, July 9, 2020

  • 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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

  • 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. 

  • SBA issues new regulations, FAQs and recourses concerning the update of Paycheck Protection Act here.

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

  • 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. This is definitely our worst week thus far in the pandemic.

  • 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".