NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — From staffing school counselors to providing state funds for mental health care treatment to a new student loan repayment grant program, Tennessee lawmakers have submitted several bills they think will help address the mental health crisis in the Volunteer State.
These bills are the ones lawmakers will discuss during the special session of the Tennessee General Assembly on public safety.
Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
HB7006: Authorizes the department to direct available state funds to contract with additional private service providers across the state to provide inpatient psychiatric services for uninsured individuals in this state; requires the department to report to the speakers of both houses on whether additional inpatient psychiatric services are needed in the City of Knoxville and whether additional state funds should be expended for the construction of a state-owned and -operated inpatient psychiatric facility in the City of Knoxville.
HB7036: Changes prerequisites for emergency detention and admission to a treatment facility from “immediate” substantial likelihood of serious harm to “imminent” substantial likelihood of serious harm.
HB7052: Requires hospitals to update the psychiatric bed tracking system at least daily.
HB7066: Enacts the “Temporary Youth Mental Health Services Program Act.”
HB7067: Authorizes the department to conduct a pilot program to provide certain mental health services to service recipients upon discharge from an inpatient facility following an involuntary commitment; requires the department to submit a report to the general assembly following the end of each fiscal year during which the pilot program is conducted.
HB7008: Requires a qualified mental health professional or behavior analyst to take certain steps to warn or protect an identified victim or group of people when the professional determines that a service recipient has made an actual threat of bodily harm or has an intention to commit such harm; provides immunity from civil, criminal, and regulatory liability for a professional who takes reasonable action to provide such warning or protection.
HB7025: Adds categories of victims and geographic targets that are the subject of threats communicated by a service recipient as targets that require certain actions by a qualified mental health professional or behavior analyst; requires reports of certain information about communicated threats to be reported to local law enforcement; makes certain other changes regarding reporting requirements by mental health professionals to whom threats are communicated by service recipients.
HB7027: Requires the state to pay the cost of a court-ordered mental health evaluation and treatment for criminal defendants who have been charged with a misdemeanor and are believed to be incompetent to stand trial or for whom there is a question about mental capacity at the time of the offense.
HB7048: Authorizes physician assistants to be designated professionals in order to complete the first certificate of need in support of hospitalization for a person when other specified professionals are not available.
HB7089: Requires that a law enforcement officer detain a person for mental health examination prior to issuing a charge or arrest if the officer has reason to believe the person is subject to detention for the purpose of examination for certification of need for care and treatment.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
HB7009: Establishes a mental healthcare professionals student loan repayment grant program to incentivize certain mental healthcare providers to provide services in this state.
Insurance, Healthcare, TennCare
HB7014: Requires the commissioner of finance and administration to obtain a TennCare new demonstration waiver or amendment to provide medical assistance to members who are receiving care in an institution for mental diseases.
HB7032: Requires health insurance carriers, including TennCare providers, to provide mental health services and treatment to the same extent that the carriers and providers provide alcoholism and drug dependence services and treatment.
HB7065: Directs the bureau of TennCare to submit to the federal centers for medicare and medicaid services an application for a research and demonstration waiver under Section 1115 of the federal Social Security Act to provide housing solutions for Tennesseans in need of mental health services; includes the provision of certain services as minimum requirements for the terms of the waiver application.
HB7069: Authorizes the governor to expand Medicaid for mental health prevention and treatment pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; authorizes the governor to negotiate with the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to determine the terms of the expansion.
HB7082: Changes the date by which managed care organizations participating in the TennCare program must submit an annual report related to coverage of mental health treatment from March 1 to March 15.
HB7083: Requires the department of health to conduct a study of laws in contiguous states concerning certifications and training programs required for healthcare professionals to provide mental health services.
HB7088: Enacts the “Mental Health Parity Act.”
SB7014: Directs the bureau of TennCare to submit to the federal centers for medicare and medicaid services an application for a research and demonstration waiver under Section 1115 of the federal Social Security Act to provide housing solutions for Tennesseans in need of mental health services; includes the provision of certain services as minimum requirements for the terms of the waiver application.
HB7026: Requires a court that makes mental health adjudications regarding children to enter a standing and continuing order instructing the juvenile court clerk to collect and report certain information regarding children who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution within three business days for the purposes of complying with federal law.
Education, Dept. of Education
HB7035: Establishes a loan forgiveness program for psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors.
HB7061: Requires the department to annually notify each local education agency (LEA) in writing of all state and federal grant programs available to assist the LEA in expanding mental health services and resources in schools.
HB7076: Requires the department of education to allocate to each local education agency sufficient funds for the LEA to employ one full-time licensed professional school counselor position for every 250 student members of the LEA or one full-time position for the LEA and for each public charter school within the LEA, whichever is greater; requires each LEA and public charter school to employ a licensed professional school counselor for each position funded.
HB7040: Establishes the designation of a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and enumerates the permitted activities for an individual with such designation.
Local Education Agencies
HB7102: Requires an LEA to provide its students with a certain minimum amount of social interaction time each month depending on the amount of instruction being provided to students each month.