Health

New Ad from Dean Touts Medicaid Expansion Under ACA

A new ad for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Karl Dean references the amount of federal money Tennessee has been losing due to not expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), calling out Republican nominee Bill Lee for being against Medicaid expansion, The Tennessean reports. Lee has previously voiced support of working with the federal government to obtain block grants rather than expand Medicaid under the ACA. 

read more »

Tennessee Reports Record Number of Overdose Deaths for 2017

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) released data last Monday that shows 1,776 Tennesseans died from drug overdoses in 2017 — the highest one-year number since reporting began — the Johnson City Free Press reports. In fact, more Tennesseans died last year from drug overdoses than from automobile crashes, according to a press release on the TDH website. Almost three-fourths of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee in 2017 were associated with prescription opioids. 

read more »

2018 Health Law Primer and Forum

Tennessee remains at the forefront of the health care industry, so it’s only fitting that we host the nation’s preeminent health law forum. This must-see, must-do event for Tennessee health law lawyers features timely programming designed to up your game and keep you on top of trends in the field. Topics for this year include new issues in health care as related to transgender and immigrant patients, the opioid crisis, fraud and abuse developments/enforcement, legislative updates and much much more. This year’s keynote speaker Chief Counsel to the Inspector General Gregory Demske will also detail priorities and enforcement efforts for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. Don’t sleep on this opportunity to learn from seasoned practitioners while networking with top players in the field. Here are the key details:
 
Health Law Primer (introductory program)
When: Wednesday, Oct. 10
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
 
Health Law Forum
When:  Thursday, Oct. 11 – Friday, Oct. 12
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
read more »

Vanderbilt to Open Transgender Health Clinic

Vanderbilt Health will open the new Clinic for Transgender Health on Aug. 24, providing comprehensive health care services for transgender patients age 18 and older, according to a press release on its website. Services offered at the clinic will include hormone therapy, lab monitoring and pre- and post-operative guidance with plans to add a mental health provider. While Friday afternoons will be reserved specifically for transgender health care, the clinic will provide comprehensive primary care to LGBT patients during regular clinic hours, including immunizations, HIV prevention and cancer screenings. The clinic will focus on surgical patients one Friday a month.

read more »

Tennessee Senior Law Alliance Expands Legal Help for Seniors

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, in cooperation with several legal aid providers, is taking a coordinated approach to assisting Tennessee seniors facing legal problems, according to a press release on its website. The Tennessee Senior Law Alliance will partner with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Memphis Area Legal Services and West Tennessee Legal Services in effort to reach all 95 Tennessee counties, helping seniors identify and resolve core legal issues such as wrongfully reduced or denied access to benefits and health care; illegal barriers to obtaining and maintaining safe and secure housing; physical, emotional and financial abuse and exploitation; and a lack of help with basic estate planning such as creating wills, advance directives and powers of attorney. You can learn more about the program using this link.

read more »

Pain Clinic Closures Leave Patients Searching for New Doctors

The closure of pain clinics across the state have left some patients wondering where they will now turn for their medication, The Tennessean reports. Tennessee-based pain treatment company Comprehensive Pain Specialists (CPS) — one of the largest pain management chains in the Southeast — recently announced that it will shutter most if not all its clinics next week. 
 
CPS has not responded to questions about if the clinic closures are connected to the recent charges against former company CEO John Davis, who was indicted in April for allegedly accepting $770,000 in bribes in return for referring patients to another company.
read more »

Apollo to Buy LifePoint in $5.6 Billion Deal

Apollo Global Management will buy LifePoint Health in a $5.6 billion deal that will expand its rural U.S. hospitals business, CNBC reports. The deal, which was announced on Monday, will bring together LifePoint and Apollo's Brentwood-based RCCH HealthCare Partners, which also recently assumed control of bankrupt hospital chain Trios Health.
LifePoint canceled its Q2 earnings call immediately following the announcement of the $5.6B deal with Apollo. The company said that it will accept competing bids until Aug. 22.
read more »

Council of Economic Advisers Releases Report on Work Requirements for Social Programs

The Council of Economic Advisers recently released a report titled "Expanding Work Requirements in Non-Cash Welfare Programs," that addresses controversial work requirement issues according to a Whitehouse press release. In April, President Trump signed an executive order giving states more autonomy over their Medicaid programs, allowing them to request waivers to add stipulations such as work requirements. Kentucky was the first state to try and implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients, however, a federal judge vacated the approval, sending the state’s program back to the federal Department of Health and Human Services for further review. So far, four states' applications have been approved by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire, while seven other states have applications pending: Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Utah, Ohio and Wisconsin. You can read the full report here.

read more »

Trump Administration Freezes Affordable Care Act Payments

In a surprise move on Saturday, the Trump administration announced that it will be temporarily halting billions of dollars of “risk adjustment” payments, designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement of providing coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick, reports NPR. The program assists in determining risk for insurers, transferring funds from those who enroll healthier members for relatively less, to those that take on higher costs to enroll sicker members, insulating insurance companies from the cost of enrolling people with pre-existing conditions. Some critics fear that the recent action could spur a spike in insurance premiums for 2019.

read more »

Unsealed Documents Shed Light on State's Opioid Lawsuit

Documents regarding a lawsuit filed in Knox County Circuit Court, where Tennessee accuses Purdue Pharma of intentionally fueling the opioid epidemic, were unsealed last week shedding light on the state’s claim that the company intentionally and specifically targeted Tennessee’s most vulnerable medical providers and patients, including the elderly and veterans, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The lawsuit, filed by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, uses Purdue’s company records and its staffers’ own words to show the firm’s founders and executives pushed the prescription of highly addictive opioids, allegedly calling the pills “hope in a bottle.” You can view the complaint here.

read more »