Advocacy Resources

TNOTA believes that advocacy is critical to maintaining the health and visibility of occupational therapy in Tennessee. Membership in TNOTA supports our efforts to represent occupational therapy in legislative and regulatory affairs and gives a powerful, united voice to occupational therapy practitioners across our state. TNOTA is always working to develop more publicly available resources to enable OT practitioners, educators, and students to better advocate for our profession. If you have a resource you'd like to see, contact [email protected]

 

 Telehealth Update

TNOTA is working to preserve telehealth coverage and OT's ability to perform telehealth. This page will be updated with action steps as soon as next steps are determined. 

 

Updated 6/29/20:

Advocacy Victory!

Governor Lee issued a new executive order extending the state of emergency in Tennessee, including extensions of telehealth provisions. OT practitioners and other healthcare providers will be able to practice telehealth until August 29, 2020, when the new executive order is set to expire. 
 
We recognize that many, many healthcare providers, clients, and families contributed to this advocacy effort. This victory should be celebrated; however, our work is not done. As an association, we will continue to fight for a more permanent solution to this issue. We will continue to keep you updated as we advocate for long-term provisions for telehealth. We are working closely with our lobbyists at Capitol & 5th public strategies, as well as contacts within the state government, to determine next steps. 

 

 

Update on Tennessee House Bill 1699/Senate Bill 1892: This bill regards telemedicine practice in Tennessee. HB1699/SB1892 would have required health insurance entities to cover and reimburse healthcare services provided via telehealth as well as codify a fiscal mechanism allowing telehealth providers to be paid equally to in-person services. 

 

Large-scale initiatives such as telemedicine necessitated conference committees to reconcile the differences between House and Senate versions of the proposed legislation. TNOTA strongly advocated for the House version of this bill. After negotiations, the bodies had reached a compromise to allow payment parity to continue for 18 months before reassessing, as well as broadening telehealth eligibility so that more providers under Title 63 (including OT practitioners) could utilize telehealth permanently. 

 

While the House did overwhelmingly adopt and pass the agreed upon version of the telemedicine bill, a consensus could not be reached in the Senate and thus the bill was never brought forth for a final vote, effectively killing it.

 

TNOTA is extremely disappointed that the Senate did not take this bill to a vote. We are working with our legislative team regarding strategies to continue to advocate for this bill, or one like it, in future legislative sessions. 

 

 

Telehealth insurance Coverage 

 We encourage OT practitioners and students to contact insurance companies directly and ask them to extend telehealth coverage deadlines. TNOTA has drafted templates for OT practitioners and students to use to help advocate for government and private insurance to continue coverage of telehealth services beyond the current temporary coverage.

**Please edit sections highlighted in yellow to customize the template before sending** 

 letter to insurance companies template

 

While some insurance providers are covering OT services via telehealth, this varies based on provider rules. TNOTA's advocacy team has compiled a current list of telehealth coverage in Tennessee, updated 6/10/2020. This document includes link to contact insurance providers who have not yet covered telehealth services. This list will be updated as changes are made. 

 

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Tennessee announced on May 13 that they will now cover telehealth, including OT, permanently!

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the long awaited news on April 30th that occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists can now perform telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries.

Read more on AOTA's website. 

 

Telehealth data tracking form 

TNOTA is collecting telehealth stories so that we can support our advocacy with data. TNOTA has partnered with other state OT associations to gather data on telehealth outcomes. Download the data tracking form and patient survey created by members of the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association (ArizOTA) to share your experience with telehealth! 

We will be collecting this data through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. E-mail completed data sheets to [email protected] (subject line "telehealth data tracker").

 

Telehealth Data Tracker

 

 

TNOTA's Lobbyists: Working for you!

TNOTA employs a lobbying firm that closely monitors legislation and executive orders from our Tennessee government.

Read the latest update from Capitol & 5th Public Strategies.

 

  

Find your legislators

To better inform yourself on issues that affect the provision of OT services in Tennessee, find your legislators and see where they stand on issues that impact our profession.

 

Other Templates

 Letter of Medical Necessity