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July 20, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Customer Focused Government:  One of the Department’s goals in the Governor’s Customer Focused Government initiative is to develop a plan that supports students and health care providers already in practice.  An organization to work with is the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association, and Dr. Cheetham informed me a Middle TN Chapter of DDNA is forming; the charter meeting will be in Nashville on August 30, 2012 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at 4525 Harding Road, Suite 200, Nashville 37205.  All Middle TN nurses who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are encouraged to attend.


  • Strategic Health Care Plan:  Dr. Cheetham, Director of the DIDD Office of Health Services, and his team are in the planning stage of developing a strategic health care plan, a commitment that was detailed in our department’s Top to Bottom Report to the Governor.  We are requesting your input and suggestions on what it should include and what changes need to be made to promote optimal health for the persons we are here to serve.  Please see the attached flyer (PDF) and share your thoughts with Dr. Cheetham at thomas.cheetham@tn.gov.
  • IASSID World Congress:  Last week, the 2012 International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID) World Congress was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia; more than 1000 people attended from over 30 countries.  Dr. Cheetham presented a paper by Dr. Modell and himself on the development of optimal health as a cornerstone to the other goals of our Department.


  • Memorandum of Understanding:  On Monday, July 16th, Disability Law and Advocacy Center’s (DLAC) Executive Director, Shirley Shea, and DIDD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two agencies as a commitment to ensure the safety and full participation of Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    DLAC, a federally-funded protection and advocacy program for the rights of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is mandated by law to have access to facilities, contract providers and records, which includes DIDD’s residential homes, facilities and programs  for the provision of services to persons-supported with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  DLAC had previously entered into a MOU with the former Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in 1999.  However, this is the first such MOU for the newly formed Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  DIDD is also proud to be the first department to sign a MOU with DLAC in the new administration.

    The MOU signifies the strong commitment of both agencies to work together to offer person-centered services in the area of Protection From Harm and advocacy.  In addition, both agencies are also agreeing to work together towards the development and promotion of more employment opportunities for Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to an ongoing relationship in which both agencies agree to share resources and ideas.

    This is a very positive step for DIDD and one that necessitates ongoing communication with DLAC.  We are excited to move forward and anticipate a solid relationship with DLAC for many years to come.

  • Changes to Billing Process and Increased Billing Frequency:  DIDD has been asked to meet with representatives of the TNCO Technology Committee in order to present information and answer specific questions from TNCO’s provider community related to the new billing processes.  This meeting will take place on July 25th at 10 a.m. in the Old Hickory conference room of the Andrew Jackson building in Nashville.

    DIDD plans to hold similar meetings open to all community providers.  We are in the process of scheduling meetings in each of the regions.  Additional information regarding these meetings will be provided as soon as they are scheduled. 

  • CQL E-Community:  In anticipation of DIDD network accreditation activities and kick-off events in each grand region, the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) has extended an invitation to join their E-community.  We hope this will be a useful forum for those interested in the Department’s network accreditation initiative to share ideas and resources.  To register, please visit http://ecommunity.c-q-l.org/welcome.htm and click on the link “Register Now!” at the top right corner of the page.  New members will join the “Network Accreditation” group.


  • Save the Date-Regional Kick-Off Events:  The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is hosting regional kick-off events to celebrate its accreditation initiative.  Department officials and executive management from The Council on Quality and Leadership will present on topics such as “Accreditation: Why Now?” and “The Importance of Network Accreditation.”  Light refreshments will be served.  Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks.  For more information about The Council on Quality and Leadership and their accreditation program, you may visit http://www.thecouncil.org/CQLAccreditation.

    Middle Tennessee

      Place: River of Life Church
      224 Stewarts Ferry Pike
      Nashville, Tennessee 37214
      Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012
      Time: 1 pm – 3 pm

      East Tennessee

     Place: Rothchild Catering and Conference Center
     8807 Kingston Pike
     Knoxville, Tennessee 37923
     Date: Friday, August 3, 2012
     Time: 10 am – Noon

     West Tennessee

     Place: Carl Perkins Civic Center
     400 South Highland Ave
     Jackson, Tennessee 38301
     Date: August 16, 2012
     Time: 2 pm – 4 pm

  • East Tennessee Community Homes:  The DIDD East TN Community Homes (ETCH) in Greeneville/Greene County now has thirteen ICF/ID homes fully occupied and awaits construction of the final three homes to begin this fall.  The focus toward measuring the quality of care as seen through the eyes of the people served, their families, and conservators leads to satisfaction surveys completed every six months with results compiled independent of the homes by DIDD Compliance Unit staff.  The report is shared with stakeholders and employees and used along with monitoring reports to develop a Quality Improvement Plan.  When ETCH initially began, families were skeptical to leave the safety of the developmental center where their loved ones had resided for 10, 20, or even 30 years.  Here is what some of the families shared in their survey responses:


“Everything seems to be going great.  She loves her home and getting to go places.  The staff is great, they really care and treat them like family.”

“I love her new home and I can tell she does also.  She is very relaxed and happy.  I could see a difference in her in the first week.  The employees are also great.  I could not be more pleased!”

“I am completely satisfied he is getting the best possible care available anywhere.  All of the staff are wonderful and give excellent care to all who live there.”

ETCH credits their success to staff embracing Person-Centered practices and a willingness to try new community opportunities.  The entire program staff would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved from the DIDD Johnson City, Greeneville, and Knoxville regional offices for their contributions, assistance, and ongoing monitoring of services and supports to ETCH.

  • An Ounce of Prevention:  The focus for this issue is the accountability of personal funds when an individual visits with family and is not under provider care.  Newly renumbered personal funds management policy #80.4.3 states in section VI. B.11:

    When the person-supported receives money to be used for personal spending and signs for the money upon receipt, neither the person-supported nor provider agency will be required to obtain receipts for individual items purchased.  The provider must maintain documentation of the person’s acceptance of the money.  Such documentation must be available for review during surveys or audits and must specify the amount of money received by the person-supported; the date received, and must include the person’s signature.

    NOTE: The person’s signature on the back of a paycheck will not be considered sufficient documentation for auditing purposes.

    This principal carries over to home visits.  When these occur, a signature sheet which reflects the amount of money the person supported left with that is signed by the person supported and/or the person picking the individual up is considered sufficient.

  • Greeneville Focus Group:  The next meeting is scheduled for July 24th from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Greene County Skills (130 Bob Smith Blvd, Greeneville, TN 37745) in their conference room.  Mike Rowe, Benefits Specialist with the Tennessee Disability Coalition, is scheduled to speak.  Lunch will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend.  If interested in attending, please e-mail Chaneth Quemore before July 23rd at chaneth.quemore@tn.gov.