State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) had a busy week on Capitol Hill guiding passage of legislation aiding veterans, healthcare consumers and children with Cystic Fibrosis through committees and on the floor of the State Senate. The bill helping students would allow children with Cystic Fibrosis to take their medication in the classroom or at mealtime to avoid having to go to the nurses station where there is a concentration of infectious germs from sick children who are being treated there.
The legislation would apply in cases where written authorization is given by the student’s healthcare provider and a parent.
“Children with Cystic Fibrosis are typically susceptible to infections,” said Green. “Their condition requires that they take certain enzymes for digestion. Currently, these students must go to the nurse’s station to have these enzymes, which have no side effects, administered. This legislation helps protect them from receiving an infection from a sick child when the student with Cystic Fibrosis is capable of taking the enzymes without assistance.”
Senate Bill 724 requires that the care plan for those students be on file with the school as a component of their individualized healthcare plan.
In other healthcare action, Senator Green won final approval of Senate Bill 54 that would prohibit a health insurance company from charging a higher co-payment fee for services rendered by a physician assistant than that charged for similar services rendered by a physician. Some insurance companies have designated physician assistants as specialists requiring patients to pay a higher co-payment.
“The driver here is to get lower cost in healthcare,” said Senator Green. “If we create a disincentive for using lower cost professionals who have an appropriate scope of practice, then we are arbitrarily increasing the cost of healthcare.”
The legislation aiding veterans would give non-resident veterans the same authorization as veterans who are Tennessee residents to use their experience as a military truck driver to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Senate Bill 368, which was approved by the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee, would allow experienced military drivers to waive the state’s CDL skills test requirement upon providing proof of a military license for the class of vehicle in which they are seeking licensure. This would apply as long as their driving record shows no accidents or citations over the past two years. The law is modeled after legislation Green passed last year for veterans who reside in the state of Tennessee.
“These veterans have been fully trained and should be given credit for their experience in the military,” Green added. The bill now goes to the floor of the Senate for a final vote.