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March 2, 2012

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DIDD Team,

Commissioner’s Luncheon

Commissioner’s Luncheon

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

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Please join us as we work to raise awareness about challenges still facing persons with developmental disabilities as they strive for full inclusion into society.  This month not only offers an opportunity for increasing education and awareness, but paves the way toward improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities. There are many things we can all do to support this venture. I encourage you to contact advocacy and provider agencies if interested in volunteering or making a donation to their organization. Second, please support businesses that employ persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You may even want to invite someone with a developmental disability to speak at your church, school, or civic organization. Even the smallest efforts can bring forth positive changes for those we serve.

Person-Centered Thinking in Action:  I wanted to share a couple of encouraging stories we recently have been made aware of.  While working with a person who was having difficulty communicating with words, an ISC from Neighborhood Network and staff from the provider agency decided to develop a communication chart to assist in communication. The chart was written into her ISP and implemented. As a result, the person no longer needs behavior services. All her challenging behavior had been a result of not being able to communicate and be understood by the people around her. This work has changed a person’s life.

Alice Taylor, Staff Development Coordinator in the East Tennessee Regional Office, and Kris Roberts, Director of the Intensive Consultation Team in East, continue to offer their expertise to Circles of Support who serve people with challenging behavior and other complex issues. Thus far, Alice and Kris have produced data that shows a dramatic reduction in reportable incidents for 8 persons served over a six-month period. They also facilitated meetings with this group and discovered what was important to them, things that made them happy, incentives that give them reasons to get out of bed in the morning, and how to balance these with health and safety issues. Through their efforts, they have seen people’s lives improve. This is yet another example of life-changing work!

DIDD Legislative Update:  DIDD’s Administration Bill (HB 2365/SB 2227) concerning Universal Do Not Resuscitate (UDNR) Orders, has now passed through the House and Senate. It was submitted to Governor Haslam on February 29th for his action.  Upon passage into law, direct support professionals will be able to honor the wishes of persons served and their families or conservators, by extending to them the same authorization that licensed personnel (doctors, nurses) have to follow legally authorized UDNRs.

Medication Administration:  As part of regulatory relief for providers, a workgroup has been developing a new training curriculum for medication administration for unlicensed personnel to replace the current curriculum.  The new curriculum will reflect updated, best practices. Until this is available, we want to advise you of a change to what appears on page 119 of the current green curriculum.

To avert the need for all providers to request an exemption on using gloves for medication administration, the following change can occur immediately.  For medication administration, gloves are only required if there will be contact with bodily fluids, direct contact with the medication or if the person administering the medication has a break in the skin.  It is expected that current best practices will be employed and standard (universal) precautions will be used at all times.

Commissioner’s Luncheon:  We had a great February 28th luncheon with persons served by Bios of Tennessee and their staff. Please view attached pictures. This group hailed from middle Tennessee and seemed to enjoy their time at the DIDD Central Office. I was honored to pin each person with an official DIDD pin and give them an autographed picture of Governor Haslam.  Thank you to the staff and executives of Bios who joined us for making it such a nice visit. We are planning future dates, so agencies are still encouraged to send names of persons served who would enjoy a trip to our downtown Nashville office to Felicia Thompson at felicia.thompson@tn.gov.

TennCare Memorandum:  This week, a memo was disseminated to all providers providing clarification on timeframes and when to expect payments and RA statements. Please share the following with those who do not currently have e-mail access:

3rd Thursday of each month- DIDD will send the claims file with previous month’s date of service to TennCare

Next Business Day- TennCare receives claims file and processes claims

4th Friday of each month:

  • EFT payments should deposit in provider bank account
  • Paper checks are mailed from TennCare office in Nashville
  • Paper RA is mailed to provider from TennCare office in Nashville

If there are any questions, please contact DIDD at DIDD_Monthly.PRA@tn.gov.

DIDD Budget Hearing:  DIDD presented its 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Recommended Budget to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on February 29th. If interested, archival footage is available at http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/.

Have a great weekend!