Capitol Hill Update from State Representative David Byrd October 13, 2020

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state representative david byrd

   Medical Laboratories Act – Public Chapter 495 allows Tennessee to utilize the federal standards that are used in 31 other states for those that work in private laboratories, as is already done in our state laboratories. The legislation will allow laboratories to process tests more quickly and effectively, and it will also reduce burdensome requirements in Tennessee that have caused some issues with recruiting personnel, especially from outside of the state. 

   SAFE Act / Substance Abuse Recovery Homes – Public Chapter 309 encourages sober-living homes to be nationally accredited to ensure the home’s management abides by a strict code of ethics to provide a safe and healthy living environment for patients in recovery.

   Opioid Abatement – Public Chapter 491 sets up a framework to maximize settlement funds Tennessee will receive stemming from lawsuits surrounding involvement of certain pharmaceutical companies in the state’s ongoing opioid crisis. This will allow settlement and bankruptcy abatement funds to be released directly to the state rather than being held by a national administrator. The legislation also instructs on how the fund will be distributed to the state and its counties, with 60 percent of overall funds going to the state and 40 percent to the counties. The state will be expected to use a large majority of its allotted funds to help target regional areas suffering from higher rates of opioid-related addictions, arrests, hospitalizations and deaths. The counties will use their funds to target opioid-related issues closer to home.

   Opioid Epidemic / Stemming Prescriber Abuse — Public Chapter 461 requires the licensing authority to immediately remove a prescriber’s authorization to prescribe controlled substances if the health care provider is indicted for a federal or state criminal, sexual or drug-related offense, with a process to restore it if the individual is acquitted or if the charges are dropped by the prosecuting authority. If the license holder is convicted of the charges, the board is required to immediately revoke the license. 

   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.