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June 8, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Recognition: This morning, I had the opportunity to stop over at First Baptist Church in Kingston to recognize Stacy Byrd and Jenny Tippens with certificates of appreciation signed by Governor Haslam.  Both ladies were also presented with recognition letters from Senator Yager, who represents Roane County.  Stacy and Jenny were instrumental in helping a young homeless woman with intellectual disabilities.  Because of their compassion and selflessness, this young lady now has a home.  On behalf of DIDD, we sincerely appreciate your advocacy and tireless efforts for those we serve. 
  • Family Support Council Vacancy:  The State Family Support Council has an upcoming vacancy for a DIDD employee to fill a three-year term.  The council participates in the development of program policies and procedures for statewide implementation of the Family Support Program.  Meetings are held quarterly in Nashville, with the next one set for August 14, 2012.  Please submit a volunteer interest form (WORD) prior to June 29, 2012 and specify whether you are interested.  If you have questions about the council, please contact Jan Coatney at 615-532-6552.
  • New EPPC Chair:  I have appointed Billy Worsham as the new chair of the East Regional Planning and Policy Council for the remainder of his term.  Billy is the job development coordinator at Douglas Cooperative and has worked for 26 years in the service field for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Gayle Laws will continue to serve on the EPPC but needed to devote more time to her work over the coming months.  Thank you for your service as chair, Gayle.  We appreciate Billy taking over this role.
  • The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL):  The CQL, future accrediting body of DIDD, is holding their 2012 international conference in downtown Nashville at the Sheraton Hotel, October 4th-5th.  To register and view additional details, please visit: http://www.thecouncil.org/news/newsDetail.aspx?id=1545
  • Employment Report:  The 2012 Employment Report (WORD) has been released.  This year, the report is formatted differently.  The attached report captures employment data on people served by DIDD who are ages 22-61.  The report demonstrates that 1149 people between the ages of 22-61 worked during the reporting period of 1/1/2012-3/30/2012.  In the coming weeks, we will also release data on people who are working or who want to work and who are not in that age group.  An additional 108 people outside of the 22-61 age group are working, bringing the total number of people who worked during the reporting period to 1257.

    While there certainly are success stories we need to celebrate, we have a great deal of work to do.  If your agency is supporting people to be employed, keep up the good work!  Remember, employment is everyone’s job, from job coaches to residential staff to personal assistants to executive directors.
  • Volunteering:  Recent media attention surrounding statewide visits has garnered interest in volunteering from several community members.  In order to coordinate our efforts, I am asking provider agencies to contact us if you have specific needs for volunteers to help with the persons you support.  If so, please contact Vickey Coleman, Director of Advocacy Services at 901-356-6324.  It is our hope that through these efforts, volunteers can find meaningful things to do and enhance the quality of life for persons served.
  • Revised Financial Management Policy:  On May 16, 2012, the Commissioner of Finance and Administration, Mark Emkes, distributed a memorandum on the Revised Financial Management Policy.  The second bullet point in the memorandum addresses “Temporary Services Contractual Services.”  Although the hiring freeze imposed on temporary service workers has been lifted by Finance and Administration, any requests for temporary service workers must be approved by my office in advance.  Requests for use of these services must be put in writing, explaining the need and time frame, and sent to the Human Resources Director, Karen Haynes at karen.haynes@tn.gov.  Requests will then be sent to my office for review and consideration.
  • Central Office Memorandum:  Please see attached memo (PDF) regarding new policies and provider manual changes.
  • An Ounce of Prevention:  The focus for this issue is the restriction involving reimbursement to family members and conservators.  Chapter 9 of the Provider Manual specifies that:
    Reimbursement for Family Model Residential Support shall not include payment made to the enrollee’s parent, steparent, spouse, child or sibling or to any other individual who is a conservator unless so permitted in the Order for Conservatorship (see Chapter 9.3.a).
    Reimbursement for Residential Habilitation shall not include payment made to members of the enrollee’s immediate family or to the enrollee’s conservator (see Chapter 9.2.a).
    Reimbursement for Medical Residential Services shall not include payment made to members of the enrollee’s immediate family or to the enrollee’s conservator (see Chapter 9.4.a).
    Chapter 16 of the Provider Manual also specifies that family members who provide Personal Assistance must meet the same standards as providers who are unrelated to the enrollee.  The Personal Assistance provider shall not be the spouse and shall not be the enrollee’s parent if the enrollee is a minor.  Reimbursement shall not be made to any other individual who is a conservator unless so permitted in the Order for Conservatorship (see Chapter 16.3.a).
  • Facility License Expiration:   We’ve recently had several questions concerning facility license expiration.  Per the Department of Health:

    On March 30, 2012, the Governor signed into law, Public Act Chapter 635, which amended Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 68-11-206, changing the expiration dates of licenses obtained through the Department of Health, Health Facilities.  Instead of ALL facilities expiring on June 30 of each year, expiration dates (during this renewal cycle) will fall on the effective dates we have in our data system when the facility was first licensed.  As for the fees, the Public Act Chapter 635 allowed for the fees to be prorated during this renewal cycle.  Some facilities will pay more some will pay less depending on their new expiration date.  When the facility comes up on their new expiration date, the fees will revert back to the normal yearly renewal fee.  The following is a link to the amendment:  http://www.tn.gov/sos/acts/107/pub/pc0635.pdf
  • Focus Groups:  East meetings will be held from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. and details are as follows:
    Knoxville: June 12th at the Community Action Committee (2247 Western Avenue).  Nichole Garrett, Field Supervisor with DHS, will share a presentation on employment and answer questions.  Friends and colleagues of persons served are also invited.  To RSVP, please e-mail mike.mailahn@tn.gov.
    Greeneville: June 26th at Greene County Skills, Conference Room (130 Bob Smith Blvd).  Support staff, advocates, ISCs, and others are welcome.  To RSVP, please e-mail chaneth.quemore@tn.gov.