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February 24, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,
Hope everyone had a productive week. Below, are various items I’d like to share:

  • Welcome:  We are pleased to welcome Dr. Bruce Davis who started this week as the Director of Behavioral and Psychological Services. He joins us from Vanderbilt University where he was Director of the Behavioral Health Clinic. Bruce brings considerable expertise in behavioral and mental health as DIDD moves ahead with the health care goals outlined in the Governor's Top to Bottom Review. Recognizing the importance of other Department priorities, Bruce has noted the best behavior support plan is a J-O-B.
  • Agency Visit:  I visited Omni Visions and Anchor for Life on Wednesday, February 15th in Jackson. At both agencies, I met with staff and toured some community homes. I’d like to extend special thanks to Omni Visions’ Regional Director, Karen Tullos and to Anchor for Life’s Executive Director, Kimbrough Cooper for their time and hospitality. I was also fortunate to stop by the West Tennessee Jackson Regional Office and speak with various employees. Finally, a sincere thanks is also due to Vickey Coleman, CJ McMorran, Janet Neihoff and Joyce Munda for their assistance in coordinating these visits.
  • DIDD Documents Update:  The Office of Policy and Innovation has begun the formal process of ensuring all DIDD forms and documents are current and consistently using accurate terminology and acronyms. Please identify any documents, forms, posters or other material you use or see that has outdated terminology (e.g., DMRS, DIDS, use of the words “mental retardation” instead of “intellectual disability”) and bring it to the attention of Kim Dean, DIDD Director of Policy, at kim.dean@tn.gov. Kim will be working with our Communications and External Affairs Office to correct and update all materials and information.
  • Office of Health Services:  Dr. Tom Cheetham, Director of the Office of Health Services, has met with a number of people across the state to listen and learn about key health care issues for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the next few weeks, these meetings will continue in order to allow the broadest possible input from all involved to shape a strategic plan for health care. Upcoming meeting times and locations will be announced in subsequent editions.
  • Top to Bottom Report Released:  The Top to Bottom Report for the state has been released by the Governor and is on the state website at http://forward.tn.gov/toptobottom/ reflecting the work done by all departments. As DIDD went through this process, we examined our organizational structure, program responsibilities, fiscal accountability, best practices, and customer service. The DIDD report that highlights the major recommendations.
  • DIDD Budget Hearing:  We will present the DIDD 2012-2013 FY Recommended Budget to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee next Wednesday, February 29th at 3:00 p.m. The hearing will be available for viewing via video streamlining at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/ .

Have a great weekend!