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March 30, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Hope everyone enjoyed their week. There are many items I would like to share in this edition:
Fred Hix

  • Upcoming Retirement:  Fred Hix, Assistant Commissioner of Fiscal and Administrative Services, announced he will retire in July. Fred’s career in state service spans 40 years. Prior to his current position, Fred served 31 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and has served DIDD for 9 years. His vast amount of experience included serving as business manager for a juvenile facility and as a prison warden. He also served in the positions of Director of Industrial and Farming Prisons and TDOC Budget Director. His last appointment with TDOC was Assistant Commissioner of Administrative Services. During the course of Fred’s tenure as Assistant Commissioner, he is proud to have assisted in notable projects including: re-building the Tennessee Prison System, starting with the 1985 Special Session on Correction and participating in the downsizing and closure of Arlington, as well as Clover Bottom’s impending closure. Under his purview, Fred also oversaw construction of state-operated community homes throughout Tennessee.

Upon his retirement, Fred is looking forward to attending to his farm, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his granddaughters. His plans are to travel nationwide with family and possibly visit Canada and Alaska. Another venture in Fred’s future may involve small business activity with his sons.

“I have had a great deal of enjoyment putting ideas on paper regarding funding expectations for the Department. Seeing these requests supported by an administration and adopted by legislature to become a reality, has been very rewarding,” said Fred.

Reflecting on his departure from DIDD, Fred expressed, “It is without question that I wish DIDD much success for program growth going forward and meeting its goal of being the first intellectual and developmental disabilities program in the nation to receive system-wide accreditation recognition.”

We are sincerely grateful to Fred for his service to the state and DIDD. He has been an instrumental part of our accomplishments over the years. On behalf of the DIDD team, we wish him the best in all he does. Congratulations Fred and enjoy this well-deserved time with your loved ones!   

  • New Employees:  Effective July 2012, Lance Iverson will replace Fred Hix as Assistant Commissioner of Fiscal and Administrative Services. Lance began his career as a state employee in the Department of Finance and Administration’s Budget Division in 2003 and served as a budget analyst. He has worked directly with various state agencies providing health care services, including four years with agencies serving persons with intellectual disabilities.  Lance is excited for the opportunity to join our team and serve in this new role. We are looking forward to his arrival.

Please join me in welcoming Kent Brummett, DIDD Facilities Manager, to the team. Kent brings an extensive amount of experience to this position. He previously served as the Executive Director of Youth Emergency Services of Middle Tennessee. During that time, he coordinated and implemented the planning, designing, and construction of a residential facility, as well as a detached in-house building for the agency. He also provided home maintenance and improvement services for agencies and persons in Middle Tennessee, with a special emphasis on making necessary accommodations to homes for persons with disabilities.

  • Tennessee Government Management Institute:  Congratulations to DIDD employees Lisa Kent, Human Resources Manager, and Vickey Coleman, Director of Advocacy Services. Both ladies have been selected to participate in the Tennessee Government Management Institute (TGMI). TGMI is a two-week residential management institute that provides mid-level managers opportunities for academic study, practical management skills, and cross agency networking. We wish Lisa and Vickey the best as they proceed through this program in the coming months.
  • Direct Support Professional (DSP) Training:  There have been long standing difficulties across the state with the timely completion of DSP training requirements. Unfortunately, this has become a regular deficiency in our reports to TennCare and CMS. We are addressing a number of known causes and looking at ways to resolve some of the systemic issues with this Performance Measure. In the meantime, we are asking the provider community to take a close look at internal processes around DSP training to ensure compliance is achieved. In addition, the Regional Agency Teams are able to assist providers that are struggling to meet the required deadlines. We all recognize the critical role direct support professionals play in the health, safety, and general welfare of the people we support.
  • Commissioner’s Luncheon:  I was joined yesterday by Tracy, Brandon, Eddie, and Matthew for our March luncheon.  Several in this group enjoyed the farm life as I do and we talked cows, emus, and tobacco.  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 RHA Health Services and Independent Opportunities, Inc. (IOI) who joined us for making it such a nice visit.  
  • Harold Jordan Center (HJC) Administrative Changes:  Please note the following leadership restructure that became effective March 27th:

HJC Administrator/Chief Officer: Dr. Stacey Dixon
Director of Forensic Services: Dr. Nancy Kirby
Clinical Lead for the Behavior Stabilization Unit: Dr. Jennifer Bruzek
Clinical Lead for Future ICF: Dr. Amanda Parsons
Case Manager/QIDP: Alesia Massey

      All questions and referrals for HJC services should be directed to Dr. Dixon at
      (615) 231-5373.

  • Provider Staff Recognition:  I was recently made aware of two Support Solutions staff members who went above and beyond after experiencing several roadblocks when trying to transport a person served. Special thanks to Tamptha Cheiar and Gene Parram for demonstrating patience and clear thought processes under pressure. Your work is highly appreciated.
  • Agency Closure:  The contract between a middle provider and DIDD will end, effective April 20, 2012. MTRO sent letters to persons, legal representatives, and Independent Support Coordinators (ISCs) notifying them of this change and of their option for making a choice of an alternative provider. MTRO will continue to work closely and offer any and all assistance to those affected to aid them in making an informed decision regarding a new provider agency.
  • CMS Quality Workgroup:  The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) appointed a group of individuals from several member states to participate in a series of conference calls with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) staff for dialogue about current requirements in place for states providing waiver services. These calls began in October 2011 and are continuing on a regular basis. The discussion’s focus has been to look at how CMS might redesign its protocol for quality oversight.
  • DIDD IS Update-Windows Server Migration:  This past weekend, the DIDD IS Division successfully completed their migration of the Department’s Application Servers from their existing Novell environment to new Windows-Based Servers. These servers host many of the Department’s most critical information systems, which were no longer supported in the Novell Server environment. This effort, which took a tremendous amount of planning and coordination, was led by Amy Jackson.  Congratulations and thank you to all of the IS staff involved in making this migration a success.
  • ICF/ID Survey:  Greene Valley Developmental Center (GVDC) had its annual ICF survey last week. On March 22nd, the survey team exited and we are proud to announce the verbal result was eight deficiencies on the annual survey and no deficiencies on a separate complaint survey. This is particularly remarkable in that eight deficiencies was the lowest number received since 2004 and the best survey that GVDC has had since its partial release from the Settlement Agreement in 2005. The past year, GVDC experienced a significant reduction in force, several staff transferred to the East Tennessee Community Homes, and many management positions changed. Staff worked together to ensure best services were provided for persons served, as evidenced by the formidable survey results. Congratulations to GVDC for a job well done!
  • West Tennessee Community Homes:  Congratulations to the state-operated West TN Community Homes for their overall substantial compliance on their first Quality Review Panel survey. Out of 14 domains rated, a score of 100 was received in 9 domains. They are committed to doing even better on their next review.
  • DIDD Vision and Mission:  Late last year, the Policy Division was tasked with revising the Department’s vision and mission to ensure that the Department’s core values were reflected and shared among all staff.  After multiple rounds of feedback from over 2,200 staff, the revised Vision and Mission statement has been completed and posted to our website:  http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/vision_mission_values.html.  Thank you to the Policy Division and all DIDD staff who provided feedback and contributed to this effort.

Have a great weekend!