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

Updated 8/14/2020:

**ADVOCACY UPDATE**

Great news regarding telehealth!

HB8002/SB8003 (http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx…) was passed during the legislature’s special session the week of August 20, 2020. This bill expands the definition of healthcare provider in the Tennessee Telepractice Statute for all providers (including OT practitioners) licensed under Title 63 and allows us to use telehealth as a service modality until April 1, 2022. This bill also makes it more likely for OT practitioners to have telehealth services covered by insurance similarly to in-person services through April 1, 2022.

In short, this means that OTPs can provide telehealth in Tennessee on a more permanent basis. Your advocacy efforts worked! TNOTA and its partners are so appreciative of the hard work and collective action from our members to bring about this change.

 TNOTA would like to acknowledge Rep. Robin Smith, Chair of the House Insurance Committee, who specifically named occupational therapy as providers who would benefit from this telehealth extension. Thank you, Representative Smith ([email protected])!

 We would also like to thank our lobbyists, Erika Thomas and Courtney Atnip at Capitol & 5th Public Strategies. Your guidance through this process has been instrumental. Thank you for your tireless efforts on our behalf! 

TNOTA knows there is still work to be done on telehealth and our practice act, but celebrate that we have a longer-lasting legislative solution to safeguard telehealth practice for OT practitioners.  Before the 2022 sunset date for this bill, TNOTA plans to form a committee to bring amendments to our state’s practice act before the TN general assembly, so that our practice act will include guidance on telepractice as a form of service delivery.

Lastly, to our members, THANK YOU for supporting TNOTA. This advocacy work would not be possible without your membership and partnership with our organization. TNOTA will continue to do everything we can to represent, protect, and advance OT practice in the state of Tennessee. Thank you!

 

Telehealth Insurance Coverage 

 With the passage of the Tennessee telepractice bill, most healthcare providers' telehealth services are required under the new law to be covered similarly to in-person services. However, due to some of the bill's language, this is not guaranteed for occupational therapy practitioners at this time. TNOTA is working with our lobbyists and others to help rectify this language difference in order to ensure payment parity for our telehealth services. Watch this space for updates as the situation evolves. 

 

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 11/11/2020. 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