Tennessee taxpayers could, under a new court ruling, be liable for years of back payments to emergency room doctors. Photo at Vanderbilt University Medical Center by John Partipilo.

Tennessee Supreme Court strikes TennCare cap on emergency room payments

BY: - June 6, 2023

For more than a decade, Tennessee’s Medicaid program set a $50 cap on its payments to emergency room doctors treating low-income patients who show up at hospitals without experiencing a genuine medical emergency. The Tennessee Supreme Court has now ruled that TennCare failed to follow the rules in setting the cap, a decision that potentially […]

A rural county’s choice: use opioid funds to pay off debt, or pay them forward to curb crisis

BY: - May 25, 2023

Over the past two years, rural Greene County in northeastern Tennessee has collected more than $2.7 million from regional and national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. But instead of helping people harmed by addiction, county officials are finding other ways to spend it. They have put $2.4 million toward paying off the county’s debt […]

Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Murfreesboro nonprofit to pull funds from Alive Hospice if board sells to for-profit company

BY: - May 24, 2023

A Murfreesboro charitable foundation that gave more than $3 million to help Alive Hospice build a facility in Rutherford County has told Alive it wants its money back if the nonprofit is sold to a for-profit company. The Christy-Houston Foundation also made its concerns known to the Tennessee Attorney General in a letter and attachments […]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone, a key abortion drug, 23 years ago, and experts say it has been found to be safe, a claim a group of anti-abortion groups and four doctors challenge in seeking revocation of its federal approval.(Photo illustration by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Appeals court judges embrace anti-abortion speculation

BY: and - May 19, 2023

America’s major medical institutions and drug policy scholars have roundly denounced as “pseudoscience” many of the claims brought by anti-abortion groups in a high-profile federal lawsuit asking the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its 23-year-old approval of mifepristone, one half of a two-drug regimen that has become the most common form of pregnancy termination […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Lawmakers push updated psychiatric bed registry to cut emergency room burden

BY: - May 11, 2023

Amid the debate over mental health care versus gun control, two Rutherford County lawmakers are hoping to improve the flow of mentally unstable patients to psychiatric hospitals from emergency rooms. House Bill 827 sponsored by Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, and Sen. Shane Reeves, R-Murfreesboro, would require psychiatric hospitals to make daily updates to the state’s […]

Baby lying on floor kicking feet. (Getty Images)

Report: More than half of all rural Tennessee hospitals no longer deliver babies

BY: - May 11, 2023

More than half of all rural Tennessee hospitals no longer deliver babies — a trend that shows no clear signs of reversal while pregnant patients outside major metropolitan areas routinely drive an hour, or more, in order to give birth. Just 24 of 52 of the state’s rural hospitals that are still in operation provide […]

An ultrasound image of Jennifer Adkins’ 12-week-old fetus that was diagnosed with Turner syndrome and hydrops fetalis, two defects that are often fatal to the fetus and dangerous for the pregnant person to carry. Adkins had to seek an abortion in Oregon because, like 13 other states across the country, Idaho has a near-total ban on abortions without exceptions provided to preserve the health of the pregnant person. (Courtesy of Jennifer Adkins)

Post-Roe abortion bans force pregnant people with life-threatening complications to travel

BY: - May 10, 2023

 Jennifer Adkins’ first pregnancy was near-perfect. She sailed through her appointments and screenings with no complications, ticking every box and making lists of all the right questions to ask her medical professionals. By the time her unmedicated labor was over and the nurses placed her newborn son on her chest, Adkins felt like a superhero. […]

Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Supporters of nonprofit Alive Hospice file complaint with Tennessee Attorney General

BY: - May 9, 2023

Community members supporting Nashville’s Alive Hospice remaining a nonprofit have filed a complaint with the Tennessee attorney general, saying any sale of Alive’s assets would thwart the purpose of the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation law. A group of about 20 people, including former members of the hospice board and a founder, held a news conference Tuesday […]

(Photo: Getty Images)

Earnings from Tennessee’s mental health trust fund for kids slow to roll out

BY: - May 9, 2023

Two years after Tennessee passed a law to make a one-time $250 million investment in mental health services for school-age children, plans on how to spend earnings from the trust fund are still being made. Any mental health expenditures won’t take place until the 2024-25 fiscal year.  Work continues on an assessment of mental health […]

Several New Mexico towns are using an 1873 federal law to push back against a new state law to protect abortion access. (Getty Images)

Anti-abortion legal strategy revives Comstock moral purity laws of late 1800s

BY: - May 1, 2023

When officials in a small New Mexico city sued the governor and attorney general over their ordinance placing restrictions on abortion clinics earlier this month, they argued that a late 19th century federal anti-obscenity law superseded state law. In March, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a measure prohibiting public entities from interfering with […]

Dr. Amy Gordon Bono speaking at a Aug. 24 press conference about Tennessee's abortion ban. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Gov. Bill Lee signs law carving out narrow exceptions to Tennessee abortion ban

BY: - April 28, 2023

Eight months after Tennessee enacted one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation, Gov. Bill Lee on Friday quietly signed a law providing narrow exceptions. The new law, which went into effect immediately, allows physicians to perform abortions in limited medical emergencies: molar or ectopic pregnancies, to remove a miscarriage, to save the life […]

"I don't want to abandon women who are in need," says Dr. Jessie Rizzuto. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Part Two: Residency programs and medical practices drew them to Tennessee. Then came Dobbs.

BY: - April 26, 2023

(This is the second in a two part series on how Tennessee’s abortion ban has affected the training, recruitment and retention of OB-GYN doctors in Tennessee.) Recruiting residents to Tennessee is critical to the state’s health care workforce. In Tennessee, 46% of residents training in the state stayed to practice in the decade through 2021, […]