Scott Finney has served as an advocate for himself and others for years. (Photo: Submitted by The Arc Tennessee)

Tennessee prioritizes COVID-19 vaccine for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities

BY: - March 3, 2021

There was a “terrible spell” beginning last October, when 22 individuals with disabilities fell ill in group homes or other programs operated by Development Services of Dickson County. Katie Powers, associate executive director of the nonprofit organization, said she watched helplessly as one in every five individuals aided by her agency got sick with COVID, […]

An analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that Black Tennesseans and essential workers are disproportionately affected by the legislature's failure to take federal funds to Medicaid. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Non-profit clinics struggle to get underserved Tennesseans vaccinated

BY: - February 24, 2021

Over the past decade, Patricia Carswell, 73, and James Burroughs, 84, forged a friendship as neighbors, each living alone in separate studio apartments in a Nashville high rise building for low income seniors. The pandemic has been tough on both of them. Burroughs can no longer spend his days in the game room, where he’d […]

Doula Miajenell Peake (left) walks with her client Jasmine Worles 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)

Commentary: It’s time to recognize that doulas are vital community health workers 

BY: - February 22, 2021

This legislative session, Rep. London Lamar introduced a resolution to recognize doulas as vital birth and community health workers in Tennessee. For millions of families who are expecting or will be expecting soon, this would be one of the first steps toward realizing a Tennessee where all expectant parents have access to the full range […]

The Cordell Hull Legislative Building. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee won’t bite Biden’s Medicaid carrot

BY: - February 18, 2021

Tennessee is likely to reject hundreds of millions of dollars President Joe Biden is offering states to expand Medicaid as part of his $1.3 trillion COVID-19 relief package, even though hundreds of thousands of people remain without healthcare coverage. Democrats have been urging the state’s top Republican leaders for years to accept the federal government’s […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Billions of dollars for Medicaid expansion dangled in front of holdout states

BY: - February 12, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. House Democrats are trying again to entice a dozen holdout states—many of them in the South—to expand Medicaid coverage with the prospect of billions of dollars in federal cash. The new offer, included in a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that House Democrats are pushing through committees this week, could help provide health […]

Dr. Gill Wright, interim chief medical director, Nashville Department of Health, stands in the Music City Center convention hall set for COVID-19 vaccine distribution (Photo: John Partipilo)

How single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine could affect public health strategy

BY: - February 11, 2021

A wave of new COVID-19 vaccines appears to be on the horizon, bringing with them the expanded possibilities of reaching individuals outside traditional healthcare settings and with only one dose. Two vaccines, from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have been granted emergency approval by the Federal Drug Administration. Those are the vaccines that Tennesseans have been receiving […]

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Federally-guaranteed paid family and sick leave for employees may be left unused, advocates say

BY: - February 5, 2021

While extra unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have been the hallmark of the federal government’s response to workers during the pandemic, advocates say a lesser-known but critical benefit guaranteeing paid family and sick leave for employees has been underutilized.  The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, guarantees 80 […]

Katie Beckett healthcare program reports successful enrollment

BY: - February 2, 2021

An initiative to bridge the gap in Medicaid for parents with disabled children is already showing success after opening for applications in November.  On Monday, the Division of TennCare and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) announced that more than 290 children have been enrolled in the Katie Beckett Program with nearly 900 […]

Joyce Christian of Somerville, Tennessee holds a photo of her father Freddie Lee Tyson. She is a retired nurse who wants to encourage people in the African American community to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Her father, was unknowingly a part of the Tuskegee syphilis study. What happened to her father, led to the establishment of biomedical ethics committees. These committees were established to set ethical criteria to ensure what happened to her fathers would not happen again. (Photo by © Karen Pulfer Focht)

Tuskegee study haunts vaccination efforts in Black community

BY: - January 28, 2021

This story has been updated. Once a year, Joyce Christian, 72, travels from her home in Fayette County to Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Upon arrival at the school, she meets at the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care with descendants of the Black men who, like her father, were experimented upon by […]

Tennessee House of Representatives (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republicans back new healthcare plan after Tennessee rejects Medicaid expansion

BY: - January 27, 2021

Two Republican lawmakers are hoping to expand healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of working poor while Democrats are trying to turn back the state’s modified “block grant” program with the help of the new Biden Administration. Legislative Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden Monday asking him to rescind the “block grant” waiver […]

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)

After a law for pregnant workers quietly passed in 2020, advocates turn to education

BY: - January 26, 2021

An opportunity to sit. A water bottle and snack. A limit on heavy lifting. A schedule that allows for doctor’s visits. These are among the accommodations pregnant women in Tennessee can request and receive without fearing repercussions under a new Tennessee law that went into effect in October.  Many pregnant workers are unaware of these […]

(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

New guidance from Tennessee officials says hospitals cannot limit vaccines to existing patients

BY: - January 22, 2021

Tennessee hospitals may no longer restrict their still-limited supply of vaccine only to established patients under new guidance issued by the Tennessee Department of Health, Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner, said Friday in a briefing with reporters. “For hospitals to continue vaccinating on a forward going basis we have asked them … to do a few […]