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  • Writer's pictureState Rep. Kelly Keisling

Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program Receives Federal Approval

Program expects to open for self-referral on November 23, 2020

The Division of TennCare and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) announced the state’s new Katie Beckett Program has received federal approval and expects to begin taking self-referral forms on November 23, 2020.  

“This is great news for so many Tennessee families and their advocates,” TennCare director Stephen Smith said. “Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program is an innovative approach that will benefit children and families in need throughout our state, and we look forward to getting started.”

TennCare received the approval for both Parts A and B of the Katie Beckett Program from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 2, 2020. 

The Katie Beckett Program is a program for children with disabilities and/or complex medical needs who are not currently Medicaid eligible because of their parent’s income or assets.  Tennessee’s Katie Beckett Program has two parts. Part A provides Medicaid services to children with the most significant disabilities or complex medical needs.  Part B is a Medicaid diversion program, which means children will not be enrolled in Medicaid, but will receive a capped package of supports of up to $10,000 annually to help meet his or her needs. 

The program design reflects extensive input from families and other stakeholders, who asked for a program that would allow them the flexibility to choose from an array of service options, assist with co-pays and insurance premiums, and include reimbursement for both traditional and non-traditional therapies.

“As the father of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I know the struggles and concerns families face every day to make sure their child gets the care they need,” DIDD Commissioner Brad Turner said.  “This program reflects the input we received from families all over Tennessee, and I’m hopeful it will help provide them with physical, emotional, and financial relief.”

Currently, almost 700 families have indicated their interest in applying for the program.  DIDD and TennCare will be sending notification informing them the program will soon be ready to take applications.

Families who are interested in applying will be able to fill out a self-referral form on the TennCare Connect website starting on November 23.  A DIDD case manager will contact them to follow up and continue the assessment process.  DIDD and TennCare expect a high volume of applications in the first days and will work as quickly as possible to process the applications.

The Katie Beckett Program was passed and funded by the General Assembly with extensive support and signed into law by Governor Lee in May 2019. DIDD and TennCare have spent the past year and half gathering stakeholder input, designing the program, hiring and training case managers, and developing systems to ensure timely implementation after CMS approval. 


To reach State Representative Kelly Keisling, call 615-741-6853 or email him at

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