General Assembly passes historic Covid-19 legislation in extraordinary session

Aug 18, 2020 at 01:58 pm by WGNS

The Tennessee General Assembly met this week in the 61st Extraordinary Session to pass legislation addressing Covid-19 liability protections, telehealth services, laws governing state property and protecting first responders.

State Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, announced historic legislation addressing Covid-19 liability protections for businesses, churches, health care providers, schools and nonprofit organizations.  House Bill 8001 protects these entities against frivolous lawsuits while establishing a legal pathway to protect citizens against gross negligence or willful misconduct during the pandemic.

In an effort to improve and expand health care access for all during the Covid-19 pandemic, members passed legislation giving patients in Tennessee the option to receive medically necessary care at home through virtual technologies.

House Bill 8002 requires insurers to cover the costs of clinically appropriate, medically necessary services through telemedicine if that visit would be covered for an in-person visit.

House Bill 8002 expands telemedicine across a variety of specialties, giving patients greater access to not only physicians and specialists, but nurse practitioners, speech and occupational therapists and other providers.

“Utilizing modern technology in this way will give Tennesseans greater access and affordability when it comes to their health care needs, but it also removes obstacles that might have previously hindered patients,” Rudd said. “This will greatly benefit people who can’t easily get to their doctor’s office, need to visit a specialist who isn’t close by or need care after office hours.  Greater access means better health outcomes.“

In the aftermath of violent and destructive riots across the nation and in Nashville, the General Assembly passed legislation enhancing penalties for anyone who assaults a first responder, engages in violent rioting and vandalism or illegally camps on state property.

“We respect the right of every Tennessean to be heard and to peacefully protest, but we’re not going to tolerate the violence and lawlessness we’ve been witnessing,” Rudd said.  “We must protect the professionals we put in place to protect and help us in emergencies. If you assault a first responder, destroy or vandalize property, attempt to seize property not yours, you will be facing fines and jail time.”

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