Tag Archives: regulations

TN Nursing Homes Get Less Regulation, Limits on Lawsuits, Poor Ratings

Even as a large segment of the population moves into its later years of life and might require nursing home care, Tennessee is moving toward lighter regulation of nursing homes, fewer state investigations and laws that make it more difficult to bring potentially costly lawsuits against operators, according to The Tennessean.
Many nursing homes in Tennessee also now require patients or their families to sign agreements waiving their rights to a trial before admission.
A measure passed earlier this year by the legislature places strict new limits on the rights of nursing home patients and their families to sue nursing homes for poor care. That law, which caps the amount a jury can award, goes into effect this week.
This comes just a couple of years after the legislature in 2009 vastly reduced oversight of the 325 nursing homes in the state by eliminating regulations mandating that nursing home operators file detailed reports on adverse events affecting patients. Also eliminated were requirements that the state investigate those incidents. Officials said the change was needed so they could spend their time investigating more serious complaints.
Tennessee has not fared well compared with other states in some key quality measures of nursing homes. And federal officials have said the state has failed in its regulation of such homes. A report issued this year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office gave the state Health Department failing scores for its performance in investigating serious complaints against nursing homes. It said there was a backlog of cases that had gone uninvestigated, and it cited a staff shortage as a factor.
…Data compiled by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show Tennessee ranks fourth out of 50 from the bottom in the number of hours per patient per day provided by certified nurse assistants. It ranks seventh from the bottom in registered nurse hours per patient per day, according to the CMS data.
The latest data show Tennessee nursing homes provide an average of 0.62 hours of registered nursing care per patient per day. Assistant Health Commissioner Christy Allen said that was comparable to other states in the region. Neighboring Kentucky provides 0.8 hours, while Florida provides 0.64. The states that provide the most hours are generally lower-population states: Hawaii nursing homes average 1.36 hours, Delaware provides 1.22 hours and Alaska 1.86 hours.
According to state health officials, current law and regulations require licensed nursing personnel to provide only 0.4 hours of direct care per patient each day
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Challenging Task: Finding Onerous Regs to Repeal in a Pro-Business State

A major effort is underway these days by Tennessee politicians to find onerous state burdens on business to repeal.
At least for Republicans, this seems to be a centerpiece of much-discussed efforts to promote creation of new jobs at the state level. For Democrats, relegated to a separate search for job creation ideas in today’s new political normal, the search itself seems the present centerpiece.
The Department of Economic Development, having researched the matter at length, is supposed to give a report to Gov. Bill Haslam next month. The Republican governor himself set the tone by ordering a 45-day freeze on new regulations as one of his first official acts and he now asks for suggestions at “economic roundtable” events held for business leaders around the state.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has set up a website, www.tnredtape.com, with the avowed purpose of providing a place “where regular Tennesseans can have a voice and seek relief from oppressive government red tape.”
When the House Republican Task Force on Small Business and Economic Development joined the quest last week with a listening session, the first fellow to testify was a small town pharmacist, Richard Skiles of Kenton, whose complained about a paperwork burden imposed by vote of every member of the task force.
That was the new law, enacted by legislators earlier this year, that puts a bunch of new restrictions on the sale of decongestants containing pseudoephedrine. The bill passed unanimously and with support of the pharmacists’ lobby as better than alternative legislation that would have require the decongestants to be sold by prescription only.

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Governor’s Regulation Review is Going to Take a While Longer

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — The Haslam administration’s project to reduce regulation and make Tennessee friendlier to business is still gathering data and it will be late in the year before a set of recommendations is ready.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam promised a top-to-bottom review of regulations soon after taking office in January, saying that cutting regulation would help deliver jobs and reduce the state’s nearly 10 percent unemployment rate.
Haslam said after a recent business round table that the project is taking so long “just due to the number of areas” state government regulates, and trying to determine whether existing regulations are justified.
“Most of those things were there for good reasons, so we want to make certain that we’re not just throwing something out as part of the process,” Haslam said.
While each department has been assigned a “top-to-bottom” review, the Economic and Community Development Department has taken on the highest profile.
ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty has joined the governor on a series of statewide roundtables to discuss business regulation and incentives. Hagerty has said expects to finish the information gathering by the end of this month. A full report to the governor is expected this fall.
Hagerty said his department is working on what he called “regulatory opportunities” at the federal, state and local levels.
“Streamlining and making business-friendly environments is good for all of us,” he said.

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Searching for ‘Burdensome’ Regulations

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has apparently joined Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in asking Tennessee businessmen which regulations they would like to eliminate. Back in March, Ramsey launched a website to solicit complaints about regulations and now the administration is conducting a survey, too, reports Cookeville Times.
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is conducting an anonymous, four-question survey that will be used for informational purposes only. In order for the state to better assess their regulatory systems, Tennesseeans are encouraged to take a few minutes to respond to this survey by Wednesday, July 20.
According to survey instructions, “The purpose of this survey is to gain perspective on federal and state regulations that are burdensome to Tennessee businesses. Please note that “burdensome,” in the context of this survey, is defined as an unreasonable rule or regulation which limits, restricts, or hinders the normal course of business.”
Business leaders and citizens are asked to be as detailed as possible in answering and asked to include: (i) references to a specific rule or regulation (including rule or regulation number); (ii) the federal or state department charged with overseeing compliance for each rule or regulation referenced; and (iii) the approximate cost and/or man hours required to comply with each rule or regulation referenced.

Haslam Developing ‘Hit List’ for ‘Bothersome’ Regulations

One element of Gov. Bill Haslam’s new jobs plan is to put environmental regulations — even federal ones — on a “hit list,” reports the Chattanooga TFP.
“Companies need answers, and they need responsiveness. And that’s something we intend to go about doing,” state Economic and Community Development Director Bill Hagerty told the Times Free Press on Tuesday as he outlined a desire for a more “streamlined” system of permitting and regulation.
Hagerty said officials will be polling Tennessee businesses and legislators to identify “the most bothersome regulations, including federal ones.”
“We will put them on a hit list,” Hagerty said.
The staff of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., “has advised us that there is a very receptive atmosphere in Washington right now to help us address some of these bothersome regulations,” Hagerty said.
Renee Hoyos, executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, said the state already has relaxed regulation.
“I can’t imagine how much more ‘streamlined’ they could get,” she said Wednesday after hearing about the new jobs plan. “They seem to be very willing to give out permits. And it’s not like they’re out there over-enforcing.”