Doctors Talk Healthcare Policies at TMA Annual Meeting

Tennessee’s Top Advocacy Organization Announces 2019-2020 Officers
May 21, 2019

The Tennessee Medical Association assembled approximately 150 of its physician members in Franklin last weekend for the 184th annual business meeting of the TMA House of Delegates. 

“Doctors who are engaged in organized medicine bring different perspectives from their medical specialties, practice environments, and the places across the state where they live and work. We don’t always agree, but we all understand that working together to resolve differences and find common ground on the most important healthcare issues gives us a stronger and more influential collective voice. The policy decisions drive TMA’s advocacy and support a strong climate for physicians to practice medicine, and deliver the best possible care to our patients,” said Dr. W. Kirk Stone, a family physician in Union City and newly elected Chair of the TMA Board of Trustees.

Physicians in the House of Delegates considered resolutions on a number of healthcare topics. The assembly overwhelmingly approved one emergency resolution calling for a ban on the sale of any flavored vaping products in Tennessee. Dr. Nita Shumaker, a Chattanooga pediatrician and 2017-2018 TMA President, authored the resolution to address serious health risks associated with addictive vaping products, which are widely popular among adolescents.

 Other notable policies the association adopted or referred to the TMA Board for possible action:

  • Encouraging state officials to expand access to treatment options and other resources for mental health and substance abuse disorders.

  • Calling for truth in advertising for cannabidiol and other CBD products sold in Tennessee.

  • Advocating for more clarity in state law around remote patient monitoring, and for appropriate reimbursement for physicians who manage patients’ chronic conditions via telehealth services.

  • Addressing gap that exists between the number of medical school graduates and the lack of available spots in U.S. residency training programs, working with the American Medical Association and other national organizations.

  • Affirming TMA’s position on scope of practice for midlevel healthcare providers and advocacy for physician-led collaborative practice models.  


Dr. Elise Denneny, a Knoxville otolaryngologist, was officially installed as TMA President. She is the 165th President for the association and the third female to serve in the top role.

The TMA Board of Trustees transitioned its leadership positions for the coming year, and members reelected the Speaker and Vice Speaker presiding over the business of the House of Delegates.

  • Kirk Stone, M.D., will serve as Chairman of the TMA Board of Trustees.

  • Tim Wilson, M.D., a Knoxville plastic surgeon, was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the TMA Board of Trustees.

  • John McCarley, M.D., a Chattanooga nephrologist, was reappointed as Secretary/Treasurer.

  • Kevin Smith, M.D., an internist in Nashville, will serve as TMA President-Elect.

  • Edward Capparelli, M.D., a family physician in Jacksboro, was reelected as Speaker of the TMA House of Delegates.

  • Charles Leonard, M.D., a family physician in Talbott, was reelected as Vice Speaker of the TMA House of Delegates.

TMA honored three member physicians and three organizations with awards for their professional leadership and community service. The 2019 honorees are:

  • Outstanding Physician: Joseph Armstrong, M.D. of Bristol and Bob Vegors, M.D. of Jackson.

  • Distinguished Service:  Matt Mancini, M.D. of Knoxville.

  • Community Service: The Bridge in Nashville, Levi’s Legacy of Bristol, and St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation of East Tennessee.