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SIX RECENT TENNESSEE HEALTHRELATED LAWS YOU SHOULD KNOW By Arthur S. Richey This article highlights six recent changes and developments in Tennessee state laws that could potentially impact hospitals, physicians, and other providers.

1. Licensure of Pain Management Clinics. Before July 1, 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health (“DOH”) maintained a certification system for pain management clinics. Effective July 1, 2017, however, this prior certification system has been replaced by a licensing requirement. Under the new law, generally, no one may operate one of the following Arthur S. Richey without a license: (1) a privately owned clinic where any Tennessee-licensed healthcare provider prescribes or dispenses opioids (noncancer related), benzodiazepines, barbiturates or carisoprodol to a majority of its patients for 90 days or more in a 12-month period; or (2) a privately owned clinic advertising pain management services. Certain clinics providing interventional pain management are exempt from the license requirement. The most burdensome of the new requirements are: (1) the pain management clinic medical director must qualify as a “pain management specialist” providing a large array of specific clinical and administrative services; and (2) if DOH has reasonable suspicion that a clinic is operating as an unlicensed pain management clinic, DOH may conduct an unannounced inspection at any time. The inspected clinic will be deemed to be operating as an unlicensed pain management clinic unless the clinic can provide documentation demonstrating that it does not meet the definition of a “pain management clinic.

2. Identification of High-Risk Opioid Prescribers. As of July 1, 2017, DOH will investigate and identify high-risk opioid prescribers based on clinical outcomes (e.g., patient overdoses) and will convey that information to the prescribers’ licensing boards. The licensing boards will notify the prescribers of their high-risk status and the remedial actions they must take over a period of time. Prescribers

failing to complete the required remedial actions may face licensure disciplinary action.

3. Waiver of Liability Clauses May Be More Enforceable Than You Think in the Healthcare Setting. In a recent Court of Appeals of Tennessee case, a transport company providing non-emergent transportation services was not held liable for a patient’s fall because the patient signed a waiver expressly releasing the transport company from all claims of ordinary negligence. This case illustrates that waiver of liability clauses may be more enforceable than previously thought in situations where services provided to patients are not considered to be professional services. Thus, hospitals, physicians, and other providers should consider including these clauses (or modifying existing clauses) to clarify that patients are expressly waiving all claims of ordinary negligence in the event an employee, agent, or independent contractor the clinic or facility furnishes non-professional medical services.

their respective fee schedules once every 12 months. Arthur S. Richey is a member of the Healthcare Regulatory and Transactions Group at Butler Snow LLP. He focuses his practice on healthcare law, commercial contracting, regulatory compliance counsel and advice, and mergers and acquisitions. Learn more about Butler Snow’s healthcare practice at


4. Treatment of Minors for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Effective July 1, 2017, certain healthcare providers, such as physicians and advanced practice nurses, may examine, diagnose, and treat minors infected with sexually transmitted diseases without the knowledge or consent of the minor’s parents.

5. Continuing Medical Education Credit (“CME”) for Volunteer Healthcare Services. Effective May 11, 2017, certain healthcare providers may obtain one hour of CME for each one hour of volunteer healthcare services, subject to a maximum annual amount of the lesser of eight hours or 20% of the total annual amount required for the applicable license.

Some legal teams are more concerned with taking credit than initiative. At Butler Snow, our teamwork approach allows us to anticipate GLEPPIRKIWERHXSČRHGVIEXMZIWSPYXMSRW After all, we measure our success by yours.

6. Required Notice Before Changes to Reimbursement Policies. Effective January 1, 2019, a commercial payor must provide 60 days’ prior notice to providers of any material changes made by the payor to its provider manual or reimbursement rules and coverage policies. Such payors must provide at least 90 days’ prior written notice to a provider before implementing any change to a provider’s fee schedule. Health insurance entities can only change










November 2017 WTMN  
November 2017 WTMN  

West TN Medical News November 2017