TN Legislative Updates in Elder Law
Tennessee had a number of new laws, and revisions to prior laws, take effect this month. Among these are some that may affect our clients, either directly or indirectly:
Senate Bill 837 – Requires that every managed care organization that participates in the TennCare program submit an annual report to the Bureau of TennCare on or before March 1 of each year, which includes information regarding mental health, alcoholism, or drug dependence benefits. Furthermore, TennCare is tasked with monitoring and comparing managed care organizations’ denials of claims for mental health, alcoholism, or drug dependence benefits on the grounds of medical necessity with each classification.
House Bill 584 – Amends Tenn. Code Ann. § 71-5-107(a) by adding sign language interpreter services when such services are necessary to help hearing impaired recipients obtain covered services, as well as spoken language interpreters to recipients with limited English proficiency.
Senate Bill 704 – Enacts the “Ground Ambulance Service Provider Assessment Act.” Upon approval by the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, TennCare shall reimburse ambulance services that provide qualifying ground ambulance service transports during a relevant assessment period (imposed on ground ambulance services under the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual).
House Bill 628 – Directs the Bureau of TennCare to develop and implement a pilot program concerning the effects of pharmacist-provided medication therapy management into all of its healthcare delivery systems, program costs, and patient outcomes. The findings will be reported to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee and the House Health Committee in January 2018.
Senate Bill 185 – Extends the Nursing Home Assessment Trust Fund for another year, and requires notice to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee and the House Health Committee if payments to a nursing home are reduced by way of insufficient nursing home assessment trust funds.
Senate Bill 1267 – Enacts the “Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Financial Exploitation Prevention Act.” This act permits financial service providers (as defined) to refuse financial transactions on an account and report the attempted transaction if they have reasonable cause to suspect that financial exploitation of an elderly or vulnerable adult has occurred.
Senate Bill 1032 – Expands the licensure requirement for adult day care providers to include those who provide services to 5+ people. This prior licensing requirement applied to providers that service 10+ people.
Senate Bill 1163 – Makes a number of changes to Tennessee’s probate laws, including:
Requires that a Personal Representative file a status report detailing any remaining estate issues within 15 months from being appointed, even if accountings have been waived by the will or agreement or otherwise.
Cleaning up Tennessee inheritance tax requirements when wrapping up and estate (there is no Tennessee inheritance tax for decedents that passed in 2016 or 2017).
Allowing a clearer procedure for a Personal Representative to close an estate in the event of a non-compliant beneficiary.
Making it necessary for a distributee or legatee to acknowledge receipt by sworn account in front of the court or a notary public. The necessary form must be posted on the website of the administrative offices of the court.
Senate Bill 1287 – Requires the Executive Director of the Commission on Aging and Disability to establish within the Commission a public guardian working group to explore the current public guardian systems in Tennessee.
Heightens requirements on background checks for employees and volunteers who serve in a position that involves providing direct contact with, or direct responsibility for, a service recipient in an assisted living facility or nursing facility.