TN Governor Addresses Healthcare

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee delivered his State of the State address March 4, 2019 to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House Chamber. The FY 2020 recommended budget totals $36.6 billion from all revenue sources, an increase of 1.1 percent or $424 million over estimates for the current fiscal year.

The Governor has plans for modernizing healthcare and ideas on improving the affordability of services. He said, “We will work with patients, providers, and payers to establish Tennessee as a world-class healthcare market for people using transparency and competition.”

The Governor’s budget recommends a total of $35 million aimed at economic development in rural areas. This includes $20 million in non-recurring funds for broadband accessibility grants and $13.5 million non-recurring funds to support business development in rural areas.

Some of the key healthcare provisions in the Governor’s 2020 State of the State address includes:

  • Launching a Health Care Modernization Task Force to bring the private sector, policy makers, and communities together to develop reforms and improve the value of care
  • Cracking down on expensive Medicaid fraud by expanding the state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with an additional 24 positions dedicated to identifying fraud and waste
  • Investing an additional $11 million for the Behavioral Health Safety Net and Regional Mental Institutes. The goal is to provide a $5 million recurring increase to provide mental healthcare safety net services to an additional 7,000 low income, uninsured state residents with mental illness
  • Increasing by as much as $8.6 million for graduate medical education at Tennessee’s medical schools. Provide a $3 million recurring increase to support medical students who agree to work in an underserved area after graduation. The state dollars would draw down an additional $5.7 million in federal funds
  • Establishing the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to help the non-profit community and to help reduce the size of government
  • Providing TennCare with $1.2 million to reflect a decrease in the federal match rate and to cover expected increases in pharmacy spending and healthcare costs as well as provide funding for IT systems upgrades
  • Providing additional funding to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Providing a $2 million recurring increase for the primary care safety net to provide services to low income uninsured adults. The funding is to be divided equally among FQHCs and community and faith-based clinics.
  • Providing a $1 million in non-recurring funding for the Rural Hospital Transformation Act for the three year program that provides consulting to rural areas facing hospital closures and delivery capacity issues
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