Author Archive for John Williams

New Continuing Education Rules Become Effective on November 26, 2015

(SEE ADDENDUM AT END OF ARTICLE)

The Tennessee Board of Respiratory Care has revised the rules governing continuing education (CE). The new rules take effect on November 26, 2015.

The CE hours obtained by respiratory therapists must meet the following requirements:

  1. Each respiratory therapist who holds a Tennessee license must get 12 hours of CE every calendar year. The previous requirement was 10 hours.
  2. At least 5 of the 12 hours must pertain to the clinical practice of respiratory care or to research related to the cardio-pulmonary system.
  3. At least 1 of the 12 hours must pertain to “patient safety” (as that term is defined by the Joint Commission).
  4. At least 1 of the 12 hours must be a course focused on the professional or ethical standards required of respiratory therapists.
  5. The remaining 5 hours may pertain to other topics, such as education or management.

The list of organizations whose CE activities and programs are considered pre-approved has been revised and expanded. This is the new list:
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Governor Haslam’s Proposed Medicaid Expansion Fails in Legislature

Medicaid expansion is not going to happen in Tennessee any time soon. Governor Haslam’s proposal, known as Insure Tennessee, was soundly defeated during the recent session of the Tennessee legislature.

Since 1994 the Medicaid program in Tennessee has been known as TennCare. It operates under a special waiver from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) because, unlike most state Medicaid programs, TennCare benefits are paid to health care providers by insurance companies that contract with the State of Tennessee rather than by the State itself.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) required states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover people who do not have health insurance, who are between the ages of 19 and 64, and who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level. In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this provision of the ACA is unconstitutional and that Medicaid expansion should be voluntary for each state, not mandatory.

27 states have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs. Thus far, Tennessee has chosen not to do so. While it is still possible that Tennessee will change its mind, at this point that seems very unlikely.
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WHAT’S THE LATEST WITH OBAMACARE?

I have written several articles explaining some of the key elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare. Much has happened in the last year with respect to the ACA. This article summarizes several key developments.

Another Supreme Court Decision

Many pundits thought the U.S. Supreme Court would hold that the ACA is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. Instead – by a 5-4 vote – the Court held in 2012 that the ACA is constitutional because it is a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Taxing Clause of the Constitution.

In 2014 the Supreme Court agreed to hear a second case involving the ACA – this time a challenge to the way the Obama Administration is applying the ACA. This case involved an interpretation of some ambiguous language in the ACA dealing with tax credits. The ACA requires virtually everyone in America to have health insurance. Persons who do not receive health coverage through their employers may purchase health insurance on government-run health exchanges. Read More→