Legislative Corner


Posted March 11, 2021

 Thanks to the advocacy efforts of TNOTA and our capable legislative sponsors, SB1072/HB1275 by Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, passed out of both Health committees last week with unanimous support. The bill will now head to the respective calendaring committees before being heard of on the floor of both chambers. TNOTA does not anticipate opposition to this bill in the Senate or House.

This legislation updates OT practice settings to include telehealth. If passed, this bill would extend OT practitioners' ability to use telehealth as a service delivery model permanently. This legislation also acknowledges that OTs may provide a treatment diagnosis to patients, and it allows OTs to perform dry needling of the upper limb, defined as the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder girdle.

Once passed, the Board of Occupational Therapy will promulgate appropriate educational requirements to designate these new authorities.  

TNOTA would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our bill sponsors, Senator Bo Watson and Representative Tom Leatherwood, as well as our amazing lobbyists at Capitol & 5th Public Strategies.

TNOTA will keep its members apprised of any movement on the house and senate floors. 

Of note, TNOTA saw unprecedented grassroots advocacy effort surrounding this bill. Several senators and representatives relayed the fact that they heard from OT practitioners in support of this bill-- they heard our message loud and clear. Advocacy works!

On behalf of TNOTA, thank you for your advocacy to help ensure this crucial bill passes!


Dr. Cindy DeRuiter Blackwell, OTD, OTR/L

TNOTA President



Posted February 26, 2021 

Governor Lee has extended a number of previous Executive Orders (36, 38, 49, 50, 54, and 55) by issuing Executive Order 77. Many items in the Executive Order relate to healthcare. This order is set to expire April 28, 2021. This order extends the following provisions:

  • continues to allow out of state healthcare providers to practice in Tennessee;
  • continues to allow retired medical professionals to easily re-enter the workforce;
  • In-person and live continuing education requirements are suspended for healthcare professionals;
  • Healthcare licensing inspections and investigations are temporarily suspended;
  • Inspections of mental health and substance abuse facilities are suspended;
  • Designation of  certain skilled nursing facilities as COVID-19 Skilled Nursing Facilities;
  • Expanded telemedicine access for all licensed health care providers.

 Read more about it here


Posted November 4, 2020 

Read Capitol & 5th's summary of key election races in the state of Tennessee, as well as public policy priorities for several incoming lawmakers. Get familiar with your national, state, and local government to continue TNOTA's advocacy efforts into 2021 and beyond! 


Posted August 14, 2020 

Read the latest update from Capitol & 5th, recapping the special legislative session, including highlights on telehealth, business liability in the time of COVID, and more. 


Posted June 27, 2020 

Download TNOTA's final Bill Tracking Report for the 2020 Legislative session to see the legislation TNOTA has tracked in 2020. 


Posted June 20, 2020 

Read Capitol & 5th's update on the wrap up of Tennessee's 111th General Assembly, including highlights on the telemedicine bill, which was effectively killed in committee. TNOTA is continuing to work with C5 and our legislature on lobbying for telemedicine coverage and payment parity in Tennessee.