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April 13, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Hope everyone enjoyed their week. Below, are various items I’d like to share:

  • New Employee:  Dr. Abdelmadjid Guerrah, MD, MPH joined the West TN Regional Office in January as the Regional Physician.  Dr. Guerrah brings an extensive amount of knowledge to our team.  He previously completed residencies in Pediatrics in Paris, France as well as residency in General and Preventative Medicine.  He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  His experience includes primary care, medical directorship, and healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities.  Most recently, Dr. Guerrah served as a primary care physician at Clover Bottom Developmental Center and the Hazelwood Center in Louisville, Kentucky.  Dr. Guerrah is willing and able to provide consultative support to persons and provider agencies in West TN.  He may be reached at 901-745-7871.
  • Companionship Exemption:  For the past several months, the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, NASDDDS, has been informing states of a possible change in federal Department of Labor (DOL) regulations with regard to the Companionship Exemption. These regulations allow for an exemption for payment of minimum wage and an exemption from paying overtime for “companionship services” under some circumstances.  These changes may affect some of our DIDD residential providers that use the Companion Model for some or all of their residential programs.  You can view a side by side comparison of the current and proposed regulations at the following site: http://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/companionNPRM-SidebySide.htm

Please note that providers in Middle Tennessee use a different DOL exemption that does not involve minimum wage or overtime exemptions.  The Live-in Domestic Service Employees (552.102) regulation allows the employer and employee to enter into a mutual agreement that excludes payment for sleep time, provided that the time is uninterrupted. I believe this is the regulation primarily used by our providers of the Companion Model of Supported Living services in Tennessee. You can see the entire regulation at the following site: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title29-vol3/xml/CFR-2011-title29-vol3-sec552-102.xml

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Barbara DeBerry at (615) 253-6888 or at Barbara.DeBerry@tn.gov.

  • Open Line Comments: If you would like to submit feedback or comments on any of the topics discussed in Open Line, or if you would like to have a specific topic discussed, please send your comments or requests for information to the DIDD Open Line e-mail address at DD.OpenLine@tn.gov.
  • Grant Information:  We now have information on the DIDD website about obtaining grants that may be relevant to our providers and persons served. There are several departmental grant opportunities listed within Tennessee, as well as directories of federal grants and those from other organizations. Please visit /didd/vault/vault/grants.shtml for more information.
  • Public Meeting:  DIDD hosted a public meeting on March 19th for comments on new policies regarding Community Transitions and Death Review as well as Chapters 11 and 18 of the Provider Manual.  All comments have been received and DIDD leadership is synthesizing this information prior to submission to TennCare for final review.  DIDD appreciates the time taken by various stakeholders to provide substantive comments.  We anticipate an implementation date to be determined soon.
  • Middle Planning and Policy Council (MPPC):  Please note the MPPC will conduct its first meeting on April 20, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. CDT.  It will be held in the conference room of Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries (6050 Dana Way, Suite 200, Antioch).  This meeting is open to the public, space permitting.  If requiring ADA assistance, please contact Virginia Harris at 615-231-5436.

Have a great weekend!