Healthy Competition: An Excerpt from “Modern Davids”


February 20, 2024 2:58PM

In celebration of Beacon’s 20th Anniversary, Beacon President and CEO Justin Owen wrote a book called Modern Davids: Celebrating 20 Years with 20 Stories of Everyday Tennesseans Fighting Big Government. We will be sharing an excerpt from the book each month to tell you more about our heroes. The book is out now! You can secure your copy by clicking here.

Asher Gross is one of the happiest little girls you will ever meet, despite the daily struggles she faces. A hypoxic brain injury has left her with developmental disabilities, and she suffers from congestive heart failure and a cleft palate. She cannot speak, she receives her nourishment through a tube, and she has limited motor skills.

As you can imagine, Asher requires intensive hands-on care around the clock. When her mom Michelle felt like her home health provider wasn’t cutting it, she was told bluntly, “Good luck finding another provider. We’re the only one.”

Michelle soon discovered that she was in fact unable to find another provider in her small rural town. No other provider was approved to serve Michelle’s community. How could this possibly be the case? The main culprit was the existence of certificate-of-need laws requiring government permission to add new healthcare services, including pediatric home healthcare. Under this regime, providers must prove there is a need for new services, and existing providers can effectively veto new ones. This is akin to allowing McDonald’s to decide whether Chick-fil-A can open across the street.

Michelle refused to sit idly by and let Asher go without access to quality home health options. She told her story and worked with Beacon to urge legislators to eliminate the certificate-of-need for pediatric home health.

In 2021, the legislature passed reforms to make it easier for pediatric home health and other healthcare providers to open in the state without first requiring a costly and onerous certificate-of-need.

This reform will directly benefit Asher and other Tennesseans like her who suffer from a lack of quality healthcare options. It’s a powerful example of a mother refusing to give up the fight for what’s right.