Monday, March 23, 2009

Help right the wrong against our most vulnerable neighbors; support bill to keep disabled out of nursing homes and maintaining productive lives

One of the most cruel and senseless decisions I've ever seen at the state government level was last year's cut of support to 1,000 disabled Tennesseans that enabled them to stay out of nursing homes and stay alive with their loved ones in their residences.

The TennCare Bureau and Gov. Bredesen, however, thought it was fiscally and morally responsible to send these human beings to their deaths. Their only crime was that they were disabled and needed nursing help.

Thankfully, legislation has been introduced this session to stop this inhumanity. A vote could be taken Tuesday in a House committee and Wednesday in a Senate committee to stop Bredesen and the TennCare Bureau.

Here is how your voice can be heard, according to this alert from a coalition of concerned Tennesseans:

The Open Doors Home Health Care Act will face its first votes next week in the TN General Assembly.

On Tuesday morning, House Bill 1114 will be up in the House Professional Occupations Subcommittee and on Wednesday morning Senate Bill 851 will be up in Senate General Welfare.

Your calls, letters, and emails are needed by Tuesday morning to help ensure passage through these committees. If you have a legislator on one or both committees, then please take a few minutes to contact them and ask for their support. If they are a sponsor, then please thank them. A list of committee members and their contact information is below.

What is the Open Doors Home Health Care Act?

In 2008 new TennCare rules went into effect that essentially closed the door to the community and world for many people with disabilities. The rules, in most cases, prevent certain home health care providers from accompanying people with disabilities to:

Doctor appointments
School and other educational endeavors
Employment, and other normal activities of daily living that most take for granted

The Solution - Rescind the new TennCare rules that prevent private duty nurses/home health nurses (PDN) and home health aides (HHA) from accompanying service recipients outside the home as they have historically done. This bill would simply allow them to accompany service recipients outside the home, thus ending what amounts to state mandated isolation for many persons with disabilities who have no where else to turn.

House of Representatives - Professional Occupations Subcommittee - HB 1114

Mike Harrison - District 9 - Hancock and part of Hawkins Counties
Phone: 615.741.7480 Email:

Joanne Favors - District 29 - Part of Hamilton County
Phone: 615.741.2702, Email:

Joe Armstrong - District15 - Part of Knox County
Phone: 615.741.0768, Email:

Dennis Ferguson - District 32 - Roane and part of Loudon Counties
Phone: 615.741.7658, Email:

Joey Hensley - District 70 - Lawrence, Lewis and part of Wayne Counties
Phone: 615.741.7476, Email:

Sherry Jones (Bill Co-sponsor) - District 59 - Part of Davidson County
Phone: 615.741.2035, Email:

Debra Maggart - District 45 - Part of Sumner County
Phone: 615.741.3893, Email:

Jason Mumpower - District 3 - Johnson and part of Sullivan Counties
Phone: 615.741.2050, Email:

Gary Odom - District 55 - Part of Davidson County
Phone: 615.741.4410, Email:

Bob Ramsey - District 20 - Part of Blount County
Phone: 615.741.3560, Email:

Barrett Rich - District 94 - Fayette and parts of Hardeman and Tipton Counties
Phone: 615.741.6890, Email:

David Shepard (Bill Sponsor) - District 69 - Dickson and part of Hickman Counties
Phone: 615.741.3513, Email:

Tony Shipley - District 2 - Part of Sullivan County
Phone: 615.741.2886, Email:

Mike Turner - District 51 - Part of Davidson County
Phone: 615-741-3229, Email:

Senate General Welfare, Health & Human Resources Committee - SB 851

Rusty Crowe - District 3 - Washington and Carter Counties
Phone: 615.741.2468, Email:

Bo Watson - District 11 - Part of Hamilton County
Phone: 615.741.3227, Email:

Beverly Marrero - District 30 - Part of Shelby County
Phone: 615.741.9128, Email:

Diane Black (Bill Sponsor) - District 18 - Robertson and part of Sumner Counties
Phone: 615.741.1999, Email:

Ophelia Ford - District 29 - Part of Shelby County
Phone: 615.741.1767, Email:

Douglas Henry - District 21 - Part of Davidson County
Phone: 615.741.3291, Email:

Roy Herron - District 24 - Benton, Decatur, Henry, Henderson, Lake, Obion, Perry, Stewart, and Weakley Phone: 615.741.4576, Email:

Randy McNally - District 5 - Anderson, Loudon, Monroe, and part of Knox
Phone: 615.741.6806, Email:

Doug Overbey - District 8 - Blount and Sevier Counties
Phone: 615.741.0981, Email:

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