Eighty percent of drug overdose deaths in Tennessee during 2020 came from prescription and synthetic opioids.(Photo: Mint

Tennessee counties file suit against McKinsey consulting firm over its role in the opioid crisis

BY: - December 9, 2021

In a coordinated legal strategy, seven counties in east Tennessee and five counties plus one city in west Tennessee have filed separate lawsuits against consulting firm McKinsey & Co. over its involvement in the opioid crisis. A third federal lawsuit is expected shortly from a group of counties in Middle Tennessee, according to Greeneville, Tenn. […]

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, with Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, at right. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Facing GOP pressure, Tennessee medical board votes to take down COVID misinformation policy

BY: - December 7, 2021

The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners voted Tuesday to delete from a government website the text of a policy that warns doctors they could face discipline for spreading COVID misinformation — but the policy itself remains in effect.  In a 30-minute emergency meeting on Tuesday — called in response to a demand from Rep. John […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Medical board meets to review COVID misinformation policy

BY: - December 6, 2021

The state’s doctor discipline board has called a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss their policy on holding physicians accountable for spreading COVID misinformation, after Republican lawmakers took action to curb the board’s powers to do so in late October. The 12-member Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in September enacted a policy that warns “physicians […]

Scales of justice with back-light on wood table.

Chattanooga’s largest hospital system sues TennCare over payment practices

BY: - November 30, 2021

Chattanooga’s largest hospital has filed suit against TennCare over claims it is underpaying some hospitals for emergency care  — the latest in a series of legal actions by Erlanger Health System alleging Tennessee officials are “purposely redistributing money from hospitals who treat Tennessee’s neediest citizens” to benefit insurance companies. It is the third lawsuit filed […]

Xtend Healthcare in Hendersonville, had no experience with contact tracing when it scored its first state contract for $20 million. (Photo: John Partipilo)

No-bid contract earns company $55 million from state for contact tracing

BY: - November 23, 2021

In the early summer of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed even the nation’s most robust public health programs, Tennessee became one of a handful of states that chose to outsource contact tracing to a private vendor. In June 2020, Hendersonville-based Xtend Healthcare, a for-profit medical billing firm without prior experience in infectious disease, inked […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican lawmaker demands medical board end policy disciplining doctors for COVID misinformation

BY: - November 19, 2021

Tennessee Republican Rep. John Ragan has demanded that a state medical board remove a policy statement from its website that warns physicians who spread misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines risk disciplinary action. In a letter sent Monday to Dr. Melanie Blake, president of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, Ragan instructed the statement be deleted “without […]

Supporters of Planned Parenthood in the gallery of the Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro))

Tennessee must pay legal fees for abortion providers

BY: - November 18, 2021

The state of Tennessee has agreed to pay attorneys for abortion providers $249,000 to cover legal fees stemming from their challenge to an executive order by Gov. Bill Lee during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic that temporarily banned most abortions. The settlement — an agreed-upon sum between the office of Attorney General Herbert […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Feds approve using COVID relief funds to expand home services for Tennesseans with disabilities

BY: - October 28, 2021

The federal government has approved a plan to use COVID relief funds to enroll up to 2,000 Tennesseans with disabilities — who are currently on a waiting list —  into a state program that provides home and community-based services. The expansion of the program  — known as Employment and Community First CHOICES, or ECF-CHOICES — […]

Jasmine Worles (right) discusses pregnancy concerns with her doula Miajenell Peake at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee on January 24, 2021. As a doula, Miajenell will support Jasmine with many aspects of her pregnancy and after delivery. ( © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Metro Nashville Health gains grant to train doulas

BY: - October 19, 2021

The Metro Nashville Public Health Department will soon be seeking recruits for a federally-funded program aimed at creating additional support for expectant mothers in low-income areas.  On Tuesday, Metro Health announced they have received $125,000 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund a project aimed at recruiting and training doulas to […]

Arnoldo Garcia gets help from medical assistant, Jasmin Garcia at the Neighborhood Health clinic in Madison. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Tennessee’s legislature needs to do the math on incentives

BY: - October 11, 2021

We need a special session of the Tennessee State Legislature – one that focuses on math – and we need it now. I am not opposed to reasonable tax breaks, infrastructure investment, and other incentives by Tennessee taxpayers, to attract the right kind of business and job opportunities to the state Even though I might […]

Abortion rights rally in Nashville draws hundreds

BY: - October 4, 2021

A rally by abortion rights advocates drew hundreds to the Tennessee Capitol on Saturday. The Rally for Abortion Justice was part of coordinated events in cities across the nation after a Texas law banning most abortions took effect. Photojournalist John Partipilo captured the event.  

Supporters of Planned Parenthood in the gallery of the Tennessee House of Representatives. (Photo: Ray Di Pietro))

Coalition hold events for abortion justice in nine Tennessee cities

BY: - September 30, 2021

A coalition of progressive groups and organizations that work for reproductive rights is holding a rally for abortion justice in nine Tennessee cities on Saturday, with Murfreesboro serving as a central site. The “Bans off our Bodies” event is part of a Nationwide Day of Action for Abortion Rights which will feature more than 600  […]