Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd

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   Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission –Public Chapter 577 creates a commission to serve as a nonpartisan, medically-focused entity to study federal and state laws regarding medical cannabis. The commission will make recommendations to the General Assembly on ways to implement an effective, patient-centered medical cannabis program in Tennessee upon the rescheduling of marijuana from the Schedule I list of federally controlled substances. It also adds to the list of current patients who are legally allowed to bring .9% THC oil-only products into the state for personal use per their physician, including cancer, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis. 

   Prescription Treatment for MS Patients / Cannabidiol – Public Chapter 230 exempts products containing cannabidiol, which are approved as prescription medications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), from the definition of “marijuana.” The legislation helps provide treatment for spasticity in adult patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis if the drug has gone through the FDA approval process, is listed as a scheduled drug and has been prescribed by a health care provider. 

   TennCare / Chiropractic Services – Public Chapter 524 allows TennCare to cover chiropractic services. 

   Telehealth / Behavioral Health Services – Public Chapter 191 expands telehealth options for behavioral health services. The legislation amends the current statute on provider-based telemedicine and allows for the use of HIPPA-compliant audio-only technology for behavioral health services if other means are unavailable. 

   Volunteer Health Care Services – Public Chapter 357 adds an exception to the state licensure requirement for licensed telehealth providers in another state when they are providing services on a volunteer basis through a free clinic in Tennessee. 

   Home Health Services Accessibility – Public Chapter 124 modernizes the process for authorizing home health services for patients, aligning it with a new federal law that ensures greater accessibility. The legislation redefines “home health services” so that advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants can order home healthcare services for Medicare patients. 

   Epidemic Response Strategy – Public Chapter 346 formulates a better response strategy for the state in the case of a statewide epidemic. The legislation implements a statewide collaborative pharmacy practice agreement with a licensed pharmacist to administer vaccines to vulnerable populations.

   As always, I am truly humbled and honored to be your voice on Capitol Hill. If there is ever any issue I can assist with, please reach out to my office by calling 615-741-2190 or emailing me at rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov.