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May 25, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Financial Management Policy:  On May 16th, the Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Administration, released an updated Financial Management Policy for state government, reflecting changing budgetary conditions.  Included in that policy document was the lifting of the statewide freeze on hiring to fill vacant positions.  Despite this statewide change in the hiring freeze policy, DIDD will continue with an internal freeze on hiring as if the statewide policy has not changed.  Current procedures for the request to fill a vacant position will remain in effect.  DIDD is committed to disciplined spending and maintaining firm control on hiring staff is an essential tool for DIDD budget management.


  • New Monthly Review Process:  I want to thank everyone who has taken their valuable time to attend the two Informational Meetings that were held this week.  We estimate approximately 300 people have participated so far and there is another meeting scheduled next Tuesday, May 29th, at the American Museum of Science in Oakridge from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm.  All provider agency representatives are encouraged to attend.  In order to simplify access to the Power Point presentation and other handouts related to the new monthly review process, we are providing a direct link to the following documents: 1) Power Point presentation; 2) The guidance document for completing the monthly reviews; 3) A blank review form and 4) An example of a completed review form.  Please visit: Informational Meetings

    I want to provide clarification about the implementation dates of the new monthly review process.  Effective July 1, 2012, we will begin this new process.  The information for reporting in the new format should contain July data and be submitted to ISCs by August 20, 2012.

  • Prioritizing Health:  A nursing colleague sent Dr. Cheetham this powerful four-minute YouTube video, “Humankind,” by a nursing student in the United Kingdom (UK).  Although it’s from another country, there are similar issues everywhere and the video emphasizes why health care is such an important priority for our Department.

    A word about terminology which is a little different: learning disabilities (LD) is the term used in the UK for intellectual disabilities.  Within the nursing profession there, learning disabilities is a specialty.  Mencap is a large self-advocacy organization, similar to ARC here, and NHS (National Health Service) is the single payer government health plan which covers every person in the UK.  Please visit the following link to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrU5Ezx2ZKY.

  • Autism License PlateAutism Specialty License Plates:  The Autism Awareness Specialty License Plate was the project of four Tennessee mothers with children on the autism spectrum.  Two of them encouraged the state legislature to pass the bill approving creation of the plate.  While their intent was to spread autism awareness, they also found it an excellent way to raise money for autism organizations that have touched lives.  The funds from the license plate sales will be split between the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee, Autism Society of East TN, and Autism Society of the Mid-South.  These organizations provide support, education, and advocacy for families living with autism.

    Tennesseans have the opportunity to purchase a license plate that will benefit local autism organizations that serve our community.  Plates will cost $35.00 (plus $1.50 processing fee and remember, this is in addition to your regular tag renewal fees); however, in order to have this license plate minted, 1,000 must be pre-sold.  To date, about 358 have been pre-sold.

    To order a plate, visit http://licenseplate.tnautism.org/ and register online or you can download the form and mail it along with your payment to the specified address.

  • Sunset Hearing:  A hearing was held this week before the Joint Government Operations Committee to decide if the DIDD Statewide Planning and Policy Council (SPPC) should continue in its current form.  Chair Mike McElhinney, myself and other DIDD staff attended the hearing to recommend that it be continued and to answer any questions.  DIDD had previously responded to a set of questions based on the SPPC’s statutory responsibilities and there was very little discussion at the hearing.  The Committee recommended that the SPPC continue operations until 2016, when another sunset hearing will occur.


  • ANCOR Award:  The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) recently recognized Adrian Walker as the 2012 Direct Support Professional of the Year for Tennessee.  Mr. Walker currently works for Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS) in Memphis.  Congratulations to Mr. Walker on this outstanding achievement.  To view the complete press release and photos, please visit our website at: http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/newsroom/announcements/AncorAward/AncorAward.shtml.

  • Increased Billing Frequency:  Please see attached update from DIDD Information Systems.   
    Open Line Increased Billing Update (WORD)


Enjoy the holiday weekend,