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Rep. Timothy Hill presents weekly wrap-up of TN business affecting Johnson County

House Republicans joined with Speaker Beth Harwell this week to announce the formation of a Healthcare Task Force for the purpose of improving access to care, named the 3-Star Healthy Project. The group made the announcement on Tuesday, joined by the members of the task force, Governor Bill Haslam, and other healthcare stakeholders.
Tennessee is known for innovation in its Medicaid program. It was one of the first states to move all enrollees to Managed Care Organizations and is on the leading edge of implementing payment reform and rewarding value in healthcare delivery. The 3-Star Healthy Project will build on this reputation for innovation with Tennessee principles and Tennessee solutions.
The 3-Star Healthy Project’s Task Force will be charged with developing a list of options for making TennCare more efficient and increasing access to care for Tennesseans. These options will be tested through a set of pilots. One concept under consideration is that the pilots would be launched in different areas of the state and successful pilots would be phased in over time. Staggered implementation would ensure that the rollout of the 3-Star Healthy Project proceeds only after key benchmarks are met. Phased implementation timelines are widely used in quality improvement initiatives in the health care sector: they would allow Tennessee to monitor the success of three pilots to determine which work best for Tennesseans and control costs the most. Initial discussions among members yielded the following examples of conservative ideas for the pilots: Encouraging enrollees to take more responsibility for their health and use of healthcare services; creating health savings accounts funded by enrollees’ premiums to pay copayments for doctor’s visits and prescriptions and providing support for enrollees who want to re-enter the workforce.
Another unique feature of the project task force will consider is the concept of thresholds and “circuit breakers.” In order for these pilots to be implemented beyond an initial area, costs from the previous phase of implementation could not exceed a predetermined benchmark. The task force is charged with identifying such benchmarks, as well as an overall “circuit breaker,” which would immediately end a pilot should the state’s share of costs increase. The task force will evaluate these ideas and others brought to the attention of its members over the next two months. The Speaker has asked the taskforce to return a report to her in June. House Of Representatives Approves Legislation To Help Citizens Wrongly Convicted of Violent Crimes: The Tennessee House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation this week to help ensure innocent individuals are not wrongly put to death for crimes they did not commit. House Bill 2377 requires law enforcement officials to indefinitely keep biological evidence collected for cases in which the defendant is sentenced to death or life without parole. Under the legislation, all biological evidence gathered in relation to a crime in which the defendant received a death sentence must be preserved by officials until the person has passed away or all related charges that led to the conviction have been dismissed. Over the years, there have been cases across the state where accused lawbreakers have been sentenced to death row, but that have later been released based on new advances in DNA and biological evidence examination. By now requiring law enforcement to preserve this type of evidence, supporters hope that others will not have to experience wrongful conviction in the future.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.