Where Tennessee Ranks
Tennessee ranks in the lower tier of states when it comes to health care. Our citizens deserve better options. Obesity is at 32%, diabetes is now found in 11% of adult Tennesseans, and 15% of the population is uninsured.
This puts a tremendous strain on our health care system with rising cost and less access. We can do better by focusing on preventative programs that educate the population on diabetes prevention, healthy food options, exercise, and anti-smoking. As your state representative I will focus on the health of our entire population and promote those policies, practices, and procedures that provide accurate information to help make Tennesseans healthier.
Our children need our attention. We are 45th in the country on infant mortality. We need to be better and together we can do better. We need to focus our attention on the mission of Tennessee Cover Kids and improve preventive health services, coverage for hospital visits, vaccinations, developmental screenings, mental health, vision and dental care. Our kids are our future and they need to grow up healthy to make Tennessee a great place to live, work, and play.
Tenncare covers over 1 million Tennesseans. It is important that a program of this magnitude be efficient, easy to navigate and have the proper oversight. Medicaid is the payer of last resort when you need health care or long-term care services. It is the only program in the nation to enroll the entire state Medicaid population in managed care.
We need to thoroughly examine and monitor TennCare programs to help curb fraud and abuse. This is the job of the Office of Inspector General. This office needs to be fully funded in order to investigate and crack down on those recipients of TennCare that abuse the system, such as people living out of state and those receiving benefits that are incarcerated. As your state representative I will push to make sure our laws are properly enforced and that those receiving Tenncare benefits are legally doing so.
Long Term Care at Home
Governor Bredesen signed into law the Long Term Care Community Choices Act of 2008 (known as "CHOICES"). CHOICES provides for long term care services for the elderly and adults with disabilities. These services include both nursing home care and services to help a person remain in their home. It simply increases the number of people able to stay at home for long-term care needs.
This incredibly popular program which allows choice between care in a nursing home or being able to stay at home was threatened last legislative session. HB 2969 would have reversed parts of the CHOICES program giving more power back to the nursing home industry thus limiting choice to Tennesseans who want to stay at home. As the population ages it is vital that we continue to support programs that allow Tennesseans to choose how and where they wish to live out their lives. As your state representative I will fight to keep this program alive and vital to give people control to determine their own quality of life.