Tennessee Health Services Merger Establishes Health Facilities Commission

May 09, 2022 at 10:40 am by Voice Wire

NASHVILLE – Since 2019, an informal group of House and Senate legislators have been studying our state’s system for approving and licensing health care facilities to promote growth and quality of services by eliminating unnecessary regulations. The first legislation to result from this group was signed into law in 2021, and reduced the cost, complexity, and amount of time required by health care facilities to obtain a Certificate of Need (CON) by more than half.

HB 2500/SB 2466, sponsored by State Rep. Clark Boyd (R-Lebanon) and State Sen. Shane Reeves (R-Murfreesboro), is the latest achievement of this legislative working group, and will unify the licensure and regulation of health care facilities by merging the Health Services and Development Agency (HSDA) with the Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Facilities. Effective July 1, 2022, this new independent state agency will be called the Health Facilities Commission and be responsible for administrating the CON program, licensing health care facilities, and determining compliance with the Federal and State standards, rules, and regulations.

“The true beneficiaries of the merger are taxpayers who receive a more efficient government, and Tennessee patients who will receive better health care. This merger will empower us to streamline and modernize rules and processes resulting in more resources going toward treating patients,” said Boyd.

Reeves (R-Murfreesboro) added, “This legislation is an important part of the General Assembly’s larger efforts to create a modern health care system that is really centered around the interests of the patient.”

The Health Facilities Commission encompasses the CON program, the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities (BLHCF), the Nursing Home Civil Monetary Penalty program, the Abuse Registry, and the investigations and surveying of health facilities. Its mission is to promote access to quality, cost-effective health care in Tennessee.

“This is truly a positive advance in terms of improving the efficiency and effectiveness in which we manage at least part of our health care system. In a system that is incredibly complex and difficult to manage, I think this body, and working with our colleagues in the House and this sponsor, have put together a piece of legislation, and ultimately a law, that will drive higher quality and more effectiveness in our health care facilities,” State Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixon), chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, was quoted during the Senate session.

Logan Grant, the executive director for the Health Facilities Commission, thanked the bill sponsors for their work, “The leadership of the General Assembly on health care will have a very real impact on patients across the state. We are honored and humbled to be entrusted with the execution of their vision.”

Within the Health Facilities Commission, the Division of Health Licensure and Regulation will be led by Caroline Tippens, former attorney for the BLHCF and chief of staff of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and Ann Reed, the director of the BLHCF. 

The next phase of the legislative working group’s efforts will be to integrate the CON and licensure processes as well as consolidate the two governing boards into a single entity. The Health Facilities Commission will be submitting a plan to the General Assembly to accomplish this in January 2023.


Sections: Politics


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