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August 10, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Home and Community Based Services Waivers:  The Department is collaborating with the Bureau of TennCare on the upcoming renewal of the Self-Determination Waiver. The Department anticipates that the Self-Determination Waiver, scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012, will be renewed for another five (5) year period effective January 1, 2013.

    In addition, the Department is in the early stages of developing concepts for the Statewide Waiver and will soon gather input from all key stakeholders.

  • Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget Preparation:  Preparation for the department’s next budget request to the Governor, to be submitted on October 1, 2012, is ongoing.  Assistant Commissioner Lance Iverson will be presenting overviews on the budget to two groups next week.  On Wednesday, August 15th, he will brief the State Planning and Policy Council on the general issues guiding the decisions by leadership. On Friday, August 17th, he will brief the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities on similar material but focused on issues for the developmental disabilities community.

    In addition, a schedule was communicated to the department’s regional offices where budget staff will be meeting with regional staff on their budgets.  These internal meetings of departmental staff will be held in East Tennessee on August 29 and 30, in Middle Tennessee on September 4 and 5, and in West Tennessee on September 6 and 7.

    I will communicate through the Open Line the contents of the general budget instructions from the state’s Commissioner of Finance and Administration when they are delivered to my office later this month.

  • Office of Business Services:  On Tuesday, August 7th, the Office of Business Services was created within the department by merging the Office of Special Services and the Denied Claims Unit.  These two groups had been increasingly collaborating on their work as the system of payments for services for the intellectually disabled has evolved over the past few years. This change is in an effort to enhance the capability of the department to provide excellent customer service.

    Janie Warren will serve as the Director of Business Services.  Please direct any questions you may have about Business Services to her at (615) 253-7845 or by e-mail to Janie.warren@tn.gov.

  • Tennessee Family Support:  While not a substitute for more comprehensive services provided under other programs, Family Support services are flexible and responsive to families and their needs. Services can include but are not limited to: respite care, day care services, home modifications, equipment, supplies, personal assistance, transportation, homemaker services, housing costs, health-related needs, nursing and counseling. To further outreach we have posted a Spanish version of our Family Supports brochure to the DIDD website. You may download it here: http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/family_support/DIDD%20Family%20Support%20Spanish.pdf


  • Focus Group News:  The Memphis Focus Group will be held at SRVS’ main office on Thursday August 16th,  from 12-2PM.  The SRVS main office is completely ADA compliant and accessible in all areas. SRVS is located at 3971 Knight Arnold Road in Memphis, TN (directly across the street from Delta medical).  Lunch is served and we ask attendees to bring snacks to share.  These meetings are for the promotion of self-advocacy and have been well attended and fun for all.

  • Reinventing Quality Conference:  The Reinventing Quality Conference was held this week in Baltimore, MD with Over 850 people attending. This is a national conference that focuses on quality issues for services and supports for people with disabilities and featured three presentations by DIDD staff

    Pat Nichols, Assistant Commissioner of Quality Management, gave a presentation about using organizational challenges to improve quality oversight. Her presentation focused on the activities of DIDD over the past 10 years as we designed our quality management system. Laura Doutre, Deputy Director of Policy and Innovation, presented two sessions regarding Person Centered Practices - It's Not What You Think.  The first session was titled Person Centered Practices -Far More than a Person Centered Plan and the second session was Building a Person Centered System:  The Importance of Alignment.  In both sessions, Laura discussed the work that has been done in Tennessee by the department, ISCs and providers regarding system changes to become a person centered system.
  • Reminder:  HR staff in all DIDD offices across the state will be out of the office on Monday, August 13th through Wednesday, August 15th attending a conference hosted by the Department of Human Resources.  The focus of the conference is policy and procedural changes resulting from implementation of the TEAM act.  Additionally, on August 17th, a number of HR employees will be attending a workshop conducted by the State’s Benefits Administration to learn about changes occurring in the insurance program for 2012.

  • Transition NOW:  The Transition NOW taskforce has been busy over the past two weeks offering assistance to the At Risk Team in an effort to streamline the transition process for class members residing in nursing facilities. The taskforce has been meeting with the At Risk team members to assess their current systems as well as to identify barriers that have impeded transitions. In addition, the Transition NOW taskforce has conducted research on informed choice to ensure compliance with the decision in Olmstead so that class members and/or their legal decision makers will have an opportunity to make an informed choice.

    The taskforce has met with the Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee to discuss developing a video regarding community life as a means of educating others on DIDD services.  Along the same lines, the taskforce is working on developing a complete marketing package for informational and educational purposes.