Professional Privilege Tax – TMA has advocated for the repeal of the state’s annual $400 professional privilege tax for years. In 2022, the General Assembly announced that physicians (MDs and DOs) would become the sole profession exempted from the tax to take effect beginning in the 2022-23 fiscal year, starting on July 1, 2022. The long-awaited exclusion is a prime example of TMA’s membership value and the organization’s ongoing efforts to improve the state’s medical practice climate. The elimination of the tax requirement would not have been possible without the support of TMA members across the state. The collective voice of organized medicine was impactful in persuading the legislature to reach this decision. TMA members are encouraged to voice support for this accomplishment by sharing the news and inviting physician colleagues to band together and join our physician-led organization.
Scope of Practice – TMA defeated repeated attempts by APRNs and academic nurses to change state laws to allow for unsupervised practice in Tennessee. TMA continues to promote physician-led, team-based healthcare delivery models.
TennCare Episodes of Care – Since 2014, TMA has advocated for improvements to the TennCare episodes of care program design and implementation. The TennCare Bureau announced in 2020 that, due to the impact of COVID-19 on physicians, no penalties would be issued against 2019 high-cost providers. Due largely to TMA’s efforts, the Tenncare Bureau has paused all-new episodes of care. We continue to engage state officials as physicians’ loudest and strongest advocate on payment reform initiatives.
Opioid Epidemic – TMA has led the way on prescriber education, important public policies and other initiatives to combat Tennessee’s opioid abuse epidemic. We negotiated improvements to Governor Haslam’s TN Together bills in 2018 and 2019 and developed proprietary resources to educate members on strict new state laws limiting how much doctors can prescribe.
Maintenance of Certification – TMA persuaded the Tennessee General Assembly to pass the nation’s most physician-friendly MOC laws, which prohibit MOC as a sole condition of state medical licensure, hospital credentialing and/or admitting privileges or health plan network participation.
Graduate Medical Education – TMA worked with the Lee administration and General Assembly in 2019 to advocate for more GME funding in the state budget to increase funding for residency training slots. More than $9 million in new funding will allow Tennessee to train and keep more doctors in the state – rather than lose them to other states – and improve healthcare access in underserved areas. In addition, TMA will work to preserve the current number of residency spots in Tennessee after a CMS ruling on funding threatens the funding mechanism in 2021.
Tort Reform – TMA led the charge for state laws in 2008 and 2011 that created Tennessee’s current favorable medical liability climate and saves Tennessee doctors an average of $8,650 per physician per year compared to pre-2008 liability insurance premiums, and continues to successfully defend efforts to do away those gains in court and the General Assembly.
Liability Climate – TMA defends Tennessee’s caps on noneconomic damages when it is under constant attack. Most recently, TMA defeated a three-year push from an out-of-state group that wanted to dismantle Tennessee’s current system and replace it with a government-run administrative system.
Balance Billing – TMA has defeated numerous proposals that would have eliminated hospital-based physicians’ ability to balance bill patients for services provided out of a health plan network and/or lifted the ban on corporate practice of medicine. TMA continues to lead advocacy efforts for a reasonable solution to “surprise medical bills” that is fair to physicians and patients.
Provider Stability Act – TMA worked for four years to give physicians and other healthcare providers more predictability and stability in their contracts with payers. The Healthcare Provider Stability Act was signed by the governor in 2017 after TMA's efforts to hold insurance companies accountable to the network contracts they sign with healthcare providers and limit arbitrary, one-sided rate reductions. The law took effect Jan. 1, 2019, and is the first of its kind in the U.S.
TennCare Clawbacks – Since 2015, TMA has advocated with state and federal legislators, TennCare representatives, and directly with CMS regarding a federally-mandated audit of primary care providers who received enhanced Medicaid payments in 2013 and 2014 under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Through the audit, TennCare planned to recoup $7.5 million from some PCPs in Tennessee. Thanks to TMA advocacy and a federal class-action lawsuit, TennCare is no longer allowed to recoup enhanced payments and physicians in other states are protected from the same scenario with their Medicaid agencies.
Leadership Development – TMA expanded its physician leadership training programs to help doctors excel in their practice environments, in their profession, and in their communities. Members have access to different courses from fundamental leadership training to in-depth projects to drive quality improvement, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs in the clinical setting.
Payer Hassles – TMA’s insurance advocacy has helped Tennessee doctors avoid or mitigate countless reimbursement and administrative hassles. For example, TMA’s efforts in 2018 helped persuade Amerigroup to rescind a modifier 25 policy that would have paid physicians only 50% of the fee schedule for sick patient services delivered the same day as a wellness visit. TMA also assisted multiple practices across the state with credentialing, contracting, auditing, coding and reimbursement issues, saving practices money and hundreds of hours in chasing claims, payments and related issues.
Group Health Insurance – TMA launched programs to help medical practices save money on health insurance for physicians and their employees, with options for small and large groups to gain more predictability and control over their annual spend.
Vaccine Discounts – TMA partnered with Cumberland Pediatric Foundation to provide members with access to and discounts on critical vaccines needed in their offices.
TMA 401(k) Member Retirement Plan – The TMA Multiple Employer 401(k) Retirement Plan does all the heavy lifting for your practice by providing substantial savings on program fees and reduced administrative burden. Members maintain maximum plan flexibility, while certified professionals manage investments, participant education and due diligence.