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May 4, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • In Gratitude:  My family and I want to take a moment and express our deepest appreciation for the cards, flowers, and numerous condolences received for the recent loss of our son, John.  In times such as these, we are especially grateful for the endless outpour of empathy and support.  There is no doubt John touched so many people’s lives; our family most of all.  In remembrance of him and for those who don’t necessarily have a voice, I invite you to view the poem attached to this edition of Open Line.  We know it is what John would have wanted everyone to see.
    My Dream (pdf)
  • 2012 Legislative WraUp:   The 107th General Assembly adjourned May 1st.  This is the earliest the legislature has finished since 1998. Following its adjournment, many positive changes are underway for DIDD.  The Department’s administration bills concerning Universal Do Not Resuscitate Orders, Licensure, and Admissions Review Committee passed nearly unanimously and will now become law.  In addition, we are pleased to report the FY 2012-2013 Budget proposed by Governor Haslam restored funds to the Family Support Program in the amount of $7,181,500 ($4.5 million is recurring; $2,681,500 is non-recurring). This is exciting news and we expect the program’s continuance to provide relief and assistance for many persons currently unable to obtain services.  We are grateful to Representative Kevin Brooks and Senators Jim Kyle and Randy McNally for their sponsorship of amendments to the State Appropriations bill that allowed this funding to occur.  Overall, an extensive amount of teamwork and dedication was devoted to advocating for persons served during the 2012 legislative session.  On behalf of DIDD, we sincerely appreciate the efforts of all those involved.
  • Tennessee Disability Mega Conference:  The Arc Tennessee staff recognizes individuals or organizations that have helped persons with disabilities or made noteworthy contributions to enhance the inclusion and recognition of persons served by demonstrating The Arc Tennessee’s values of Integrity, Courage, Respect, and Justice.  This year, two DIDD employees will be honored at the 2012 Tennessee Disability Mega Conference Banquet and Dance on Friday, June 1, 2012.  Debbie Payne, Deputy Commissioner of Program Operations will receive an Integrity Award and Tom O’Brien, Middle Complaint Resolution Director, will receive a Respect Award. Congratulations to both on their accomplishments.  If interested in attending the conference, please contact Peggy Cooper or Marlena Buford of the Arc Tennessee at (615) 248-5878 to purchase a ticket.
  • Ethical Practices Reminder:  It has recently come to our attention several provider agencies have been offering gratuities to Independent Support Coordinators.  While the intent may be innocent in nature, the appearance is that of “wrongdoing” and as such, will be viewed as an inappropriate activity.  If the objective is to express appreciation for a job well-done, simple words of gratitude or encouragement should be sufficient.  Please know all reports of this activity will be submitted for investigation with the potential for severe consequences.  If substantiated, there will be immediate termination of the provider agreement.
  • Edison Detailed Time Reporting:  Later this month, a memorandum to all DIDD staff will be released from Central Office concerning a function within Edison called “Labor Distribution.”  Its use will allow DIDD to better ensure personnel costs are directly charged to the appropriate federal or state programs.  Employees will not be required to use labor distribution until properly trained.  Additional details are forthcoming.
  • An Ounce of Prevention:  As noted in a prior edition, DIDD would like to remind providers of an issue that has led to recoupment in the past in an effort to prevent re-occurrence in the future.  This week, the focus is on when to bill for Individual Transportation (Ind. Trans).  This service is provided in conjunction with Personal Assistance (PA).  Due to the recent cap on PA services, many individuals who formerly received only PA and Ind. Trans are now also receiving Community Based Day Services (CB Day).  We would remind providers that transportation is included in the CB Day rate.  With this in mind, when CB Day, PA, and Ind. Trans are provided and billed on the same day, the time frame associated with the Ind. Trans must be documented and must also fall within the time frame of the PA.  Additional clarification can be found in Chapter 16, Section 3.e.3 & 4; Chapter 16, Section 5.1; and Chapter 10, Section 10.2.
  • TennCare Select Community:  The Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP) is the Managed Care Organization (MCO) that operates the TennCare SelectCommunity program (i.e., SelectCommunity). This program is for persons with intellectual disabilities who are enrolled in one of the state’s three (3) Home and Community Based Waiver programs. Each person who joins (i.e., opts-in) SelectCommunity, is assigned a Nurse Care Manager (NCM). The NCM assists the person supported in coordinating their physical and behavioral health care needs. It has come to the attention of Central Office that individuals have questions about releases of information in order to share information with NCMs. The NCM is not required to have a release of information from the person supported/legal representative in order to coordinate services with the person’s Independent Support Coordinator (ISC), waiver provider, or department Regional Office staff. A covered entity is not required to obtain authorization for treatment purposes. “Treatment” is defined at 45 CFR 164.501 as “the provision, coordination, or management of health care and related services among health care providers or by a health care provider with a third party, consultation between health care providers regarding a patient, or the referral of a patient from one health care provider to another.” Because the Nurse Care Managers are working on behalf of VSHP to coordinate treatment with an ISC, authorization to share information is not required.
  • Provider Recognition:   I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Alex Heart, Vice President of DD Services with Volunteers of America and Jay Albertia, Executive Director of Progressive Directions, for their dedication, patience, and excellence in service, as demonstrated in their willingness to serve in emergency late-night situations and provide placements for persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). 

    Over the past few months, DIDD has been contacted by law enforcement and hospitals regarding persons with ID that have been found and either do not have a home to which they can return or cannot communicate their name and/or address.  All of these situations occurred in the late-night or early morning hours and necessitated the need to locate an immediate placement for the person.  Based on location and potential availability of homes, Alex or Jay were contacted and on each occasion they provided placement.

    However, Alex and Jay went above and beyond.  They both personally traveled to either where the person was or to the home in which the person was staying to ensure the person was safe and understood what was occurring and to provide assistance to staff, whom also deserve recognition in these situations in preparing to serve the person.  Finally, I’d like to thank all other providers who have demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond what is required to ensure persons served are provided exceptional care in all circumstances.
  • West TN Conference:  The Tennessee Association for Behavior Analysis held its annual West Tennessee Conference on April 27th at the West TN Regional Office.  Special thanks to Pam Gillespie for organizing the event.  Dr. Modell and Dr. Cheetham, who each presented, represented Central Office.  Presentations included “Board Certified Behavior Analysts and the Expert Witness: Overview and Ethical Considerations” and “An Approach to Help the Primary Care Provider with Behavior.”  The agenda also featured students and faculty from the University of Memphis and Dr. Paul Malanga of DIDD, who also presented. Approximately 55 people attended the conference.
  • Open Line Submissions:  We sincerely appreciate requests to disseminate information on agency fundraising and community events.  However, due to the large volume of requests, we are no longer able to accept further submissions.
  • Focus Groups:  This month’s groups will focus on self-advocacy and empowerment.  Participation in the focus groups continues to grow.  May’s topic is “Healthy Relationships.” All meetings are from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. and lunch will be provided.  It is helpful, but not required, for participants to bring snacks to share.  Meetings are open to everyone.  Locations and dates are as follows:

Nashville:  May 8th at One Cannon Way Basement (Clover Bottom campus)
Memphis:  May 10th at Support Solutions of the Mid-South