Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed a measure sponsored by State Representative Sam Whitson (R-Franklin) to ensure approximately 3,679 children with long-term disabilities or complex medical needs are allowed to receive healthcare services at home with additional support.
House Bill 498 – commonly referred to as the Katie Beckett Waiver bill – directs the Commissioner of Finance & Administration to submit a waiver for the purpose of establishing a distinct Katie Beckett program. The measure requires the program to be designed in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Development Disabilities (DIDD) and be composed of two parts.
Part A, a traditional Katie Beckett program, is designed to provide a pathway to eligibility for Medicaid services and essential wraparound home and community-based services regardless of parental income levels, as well as resources for children under 18 years of age with severe functional limitations.
Part B, which would be administered by DIDD, must be designed as a Medicaid diversion plan and offer a capped package of essential wraparound services and supports as well as premium assistance on a sliding fee scale for children under 18 that meet the appropriate level of care criteria.
Additionally, House Bill 498 requires a joint report by TennCare and DIDD to be issued annually to the House TennCare Subcommittee and Senate Health Committee.
“I am so proud of our House Republican Caucus for leading on this important issue, and I am grateful for the support we received from House leadership and the Tennessee Disability Coalition who helped make this happen for our citizens who need these services the most,” Whitson said. “I have met so many loving individuals and families while working on this initiative, and I am pleased the governor has signed this bill into law. This is truly a great day for our state.”
More information on House Bill 498 can be found here.
Whitson represents House District 65. He serves as the chairman of the Infrastructure Subcommittee and is also on the Transportation Committee, the Health Committee and the Public Health Subcommittee.