News Release from Middle Tennessee State University, April 18, 2019:

Link: https://mtsunews.com/healthcare-tech-jobs-report-2019/

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — App developers are the most in-demand tech jobs in the Middle Tennessee’s burgeoning healthcare industry and demand for healthcare tech workers overall “grew steadily” in recent years, according to a new MTSU report.

Released Thursday at the latest tech talk hosted by the Greater Nashville Technology Council, the “Healthcare Tech Middle Tennessee” report was developed by the Department of Information Systems and Analytics in MTSU’s Jones College of Business in partnership with the tech advocacy organization.

Report author Amy Harris, associate professor in information systems and analytics, moderated a panel of experts from area healthcare tech companies to discuss the report findings and what they mean for the region’s healthcare sector.

“Health care is such a strong economic driver in this region that we felt it was important to understand more about its contribution to tech workforce demand,” said Harris, who released a report late last year about the state of tech jobs overall in the Midstate.

“The study’s findings provide evidence of healthy — and growing — demand for health care tech workers. Of the 38,000-plus postings for tech jobs in Middle Tennessee last year, one-third were associated with healthcare. That’s just over 12,500 healthcare tech jobs. This is strong evidence that the increasing use of technology in healthcare delivery is fueling job growth in our region.”

The report — which includes breakdowns in areas such as most in-demand occupations, job titles, and skills — covers the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin and Clarksville, TN-KY metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). You can download the full report at http://www.middletntechjobs.com/healthcare-tech-2019/.

“Understanding the specific tech talent needs of our major industries is vital to the success in growing our tech workforce,” explained Brian Moyer, president and CEO of the Greater Nashville Technology Council. “We want to thank Dr. Harris and the MTSU Department of Information Systems and Analytics for their continued efforts to shed light on the unique facets of region’s tech community.”

Other report highlights:

  • When comparing healthcare tech job demand to overall tech job demand, there was a high degree of consistency in the top occupations, job titles, skills, and qualifications. However, there was considerable variation in the proportion of overall tech demand driven by healthcare when looking at individual occupations and job titles.
  • Demand for healthcare tech workers grew steadily through 2017 and 2018, peaking at 3,072 active job postings in December 2018.
  • The most in-demand healthcare tech occupation was Software Developers, Applications with 12.7 percent of postings associated with this occupation group. The Management Analysts and Computer Systems Analysts occupation groups followed close behind, with 12.5 percent and 11.8 percent of postings, respectively.
  • SQL (a software programming language) is the most in-demand skill for healthcare tech workers with 23 percent of postings referencing this skill. Agile Software Development and Business Requirements followed, appearing in 15 percent and 9 percent of postings, respectively.

This report is part of the Middle Tennessee Tech research program, which has the goal of providing industry, economic development, and academic audiences with data on the current state of the Midstate technology workforce. It is a partnership between MTSU’s Department of Information Systems and Analytics and the Greater Nashville Technology Council.

News Release from the Republican Party of Tennessee, April 18, 2019:

Link: https://www.tngopsenate.com/2019/04/18/capitol-hill-week-legislation-calls-for-medicaid-block-grant-waiver-to-construct-an-innovative-plan-that-better-serves-the-needs-of-tenncare-recipients/

Legislation calls for Medicaid block grant waiver to construct an innovative plan that better serves the needs of TennCare recipients

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), April 18, 2019 – Major legislation calling for Tennessee’s Commissioner of Finance and Administration to request a block grant waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to better serve recipients of the state’s TennCare program was approved by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee this week.

Senate Bill 1428, sponsored by Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), is designed to maximize flexibility in constructing an innovative plan that serves the needs of Tennesseans, while ensuring the state continues to receive its full share of federal Medicaid dollars.

“The overall goal is to provide an effective and innovative plan that is specific to the healthcare needs of all Tennesseans, while lowering costs and increasing access to patient-centered care,” said Senator Bailey. “We need the flexibility to determine what is best for our citizens instead of continuing down the path of a one-size-fits-all program from Washington.”

Bailey said the legislation has been worked on diligently over the past several weeks with TennCare officials, Senator Lamar Alexander’s office, and Senate leadership.

“I, along with Senate leadership, have worked diligently to address the concerns of all stakeholders,” added Bailey. “We are in a unique situation with Senator Lamar Alexander currently chairing the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and I am confident his office will continue to be a valuable resource moving forward.”

The legislation requires the commissioner to submit the block grant waiver request to CMS within 180 days of the bill’s enactment. The block grant must convert funding for the program into an allotment that is tailored to meet the needs of Tennesseans. Coverage for the existing TennCare population would be maintained under the proposal.

The bill specifies that funds must be indexed for costs such as population and inflation growth. Funding must remain at the level set, without any decrease in the federal share based on deflation or a reduction in population. Administrative costs would be excluded, permitting the state to continue to draw federal matching funds for operating the program. To provide maximum flexibility regarding pharmacy benefits, the amendment includes fluctuation of prescription drug costs, diabetic testing supplies, and over-the-counter medications.

In addition, the proposal gives the state additional flexibility to serve other needy populations with distinct financial or healthcare needs.

The measure would become law upon Governor Lee’s signature. It now goes to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for consideration, and must also receive approval from the Finance, Ways and Means Committee before moving to the full Senate for a final vote.

Press release from the Tennessee Medical Association, July 13, 2018:

The following bills passed by the 2018 General Assembly are effective July 1, 2018 and may be of special interest to physicians since they could require action or reporting. Others are for information only. Contact the TMA Legal Department at 800-659-1862 or becky.morrissey@tnmed.org with any questions.

Action required by physicians

Solicitation of Accident and Disaster Victims by Health Care Prescribers – PC 638
Health care prescribers, their employees, agents, or independent contractors may NOT conduct in-person solicitation, telemarketing, or telephonic solicitation of victims of disasters or accidents to market services of the healing arts related the accident or victim. Exceptions and other requirements are detailed in Section III of the Law Guide topic Advertising.

Extremely Dense Breast Tissue – PC 750

In 2013, the General Assembly passed a law requiring notification to patients when breast imaging shows the patient has dense breasts based on data established by the American College of Radiology. The notification language was updated with this 2018 legislation. The required language is found by clicking on the link to the public chapter.

Nonresidential Office-Based Opiate Treatment – PC 978

Important changes are made to the definition of nonresidential office-based opiate treatment facility. It includes, but is not limited to, stand-alone clinics, treatment resources, and individual physical locations occupied as the professional practice of a prescriber(s) licensed pursuant to Title 63 (physicians). The new definition will expand the number of physician practices that will come under the definition and subject to licensing by the state.

Requirements for Prescribing and Dispensing of Opioids – PC 901

Prior to prescribing more than a three-day supply of an opioid or an opioid dosage that exceeds a total of a 180 MMEs to a woman of childbearing age (ages 15-44), a prescriber must take certain steps. See section X) A) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions.

Governor’s Bill, Tennessee Together – PC 1039

This legislation was filed to address the state’s opioid abuse epidemic. TMA was actively engaged in providing input and amending the filed bill to ensure that it did not unreasonably obstruct patients in legitimate pain from getting the care they need. There are several changes to opioid prescribing that physicians must follow. See section X) B) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions for the specific restrictions.

Information Only – No reporting/action required by physicians

Direct Administration of Buprenorphine Mono – PC 674

An exemption was added to the list of times buprenorphine mono or buprenorphine without naloxone may be used for the treatment of addiction. This exemption states that it may be used for the treatment of substance use disorder pursuant to a medical order or prescription order from an MD or DO. This does not permit it to be dispensed to a patient in a manner that would permit it to be administered away from the premises on which it is dispensed. See section VIII. B) 4) (d)(ii) of the Law Guide topic titled Prescriptions.

Maintenance of Certification – PC 694

This bill passed in 2018, due in large part, to the advocacy efforts of TMA. This law details how hospitals and insurance plans may or may not differentiate between physicians that have maintenance of certification and those that do not when it comes to facility privileges and credentialing. See the Law Guide topic titled Maintenance of Certification for the details of this new law.

Down Syndrome Information Act of 2018 – PC 773

A healthcare provider who renders prenatal or postnatal care or a genetic counselor who renders genetic counseling may, upon receipt of a positive test result from a test for Down syndrome, provide the expectant or new parent with the information provided by the department under this part. The Department of Health will make information available on its website to share with patients.

Barter of Goods and Services as Payment for Healthcare Services – PC 1037

A physician may accept goods or services as payment in a direct exchange of barter for healthcare services provided by the physician if the patient to whom the healthcare services are provided is not covered by health insurance coverage. A physician who accepts barter as payment in accordance with this section shall annually submit a copy of the relevant federal tax form disclosing the physician’s income from barter to the physician’s licensing board. This law shall not apply to any healthcare services provided at a pain management clinic.

PRESS RELEASE from the State of Tennessee, Sept. 20, 2017:

TDCI Announces Approval of Rates for 2018 Individual Marketplace

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) announces today the approval of insurance rates requested by the three carriers offering coverage on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) ahead of Open Enrollment for 2018.

The rates sought by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Cigna, and Oscar Health for coverage on the FFM in 2018 are as follows:

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee: Average 21.4 percent increase (Range: 4.6% – 44.5%)

Cigna: Average 42.1 percent increase (Range: 12.2% – 182.2%)

Oscar Health: Initial Rate Filing (Rating Area 4)

A map detailing the carriers’ plans across Tennessee’s eight rating areas can be found here.

TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak, who testified twice this year to the Senate on behalf of consumers, has supported stabilization of the market by Congress in order to lower the 2018 rate requests. Recent bipartisan efforts ended Tuesday without an agreement.

“I’m disappointed by yesterday’s announcement out of Washington,” said McPeak. “While Tennessee is supportive of long-term strategies such as the Graham-Cassidy Amendment introduced in Congress, I appreciate the diligent efforts of Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to find common ground in providing more immediate stabilization in the marketplace. Instead, it appears more likely that Tennesseans must prepare themselves for a round of actuarially justified rates for 2018 that are far higher than could be necessary as a result of uncertainty in Washington. On behalf of Tennessee consumers, I continue to urge Congress to take action to stabilize insurance markets. The Department stands ready to take action to aid consumers should stabilization measures be enacted.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must now review Tennessee’s approvals.

Companies will have until September 27 to sign agreements with CMS to participate in the marketplace.

On Oct. 5, the Department will hold a public meeting where insurance carriers will present their coverage plans to navigators.

Open Enrollment for 2018 is slated to begin Nov. 1 and last through Dec. 15.