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August 17, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Person-Centered Excellence Network Accreditation: To support our efforts in becoming the first service delivery system in the nation for intellectual and developmental disabilities to become accredited, Laura Doutre has been appointed as the Director of Accreditation. Laura began her career working to support people with intellectual disabilities more than 20 years ago at Buffalo River Services, Inc. and came to the department in 1998. Her experience with the department started with the QA Survey team and has included compliance, operations, and most recently policy and innovation. She has been involved in leading the Person Centered Organization efforts for the department since the project began and is a strong advocate for the people we support, ISCs, and providers.

    "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this effort for DIDD and for Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities. We have worked hard to move the system to one that focuses on the people we support and the things they need in their lives to be happy, healthy, and part of the communities in which they live. Working toward accreditation with the Council on Quality and Leadership is one more step in that work. I look forward to the challenge," Doutre said.

    Laura has a B.S. degree in psychology from MTSU and is currently completing her Master’s degree. She is a credentialed Person Centered Thinking trainer with the Learning Community for Person Centered practices and is on her way to become a Personal Outcome Measures trainer, Basic Assurances reviewer, and a Personal Outcomes Interviewer through CQL.

  • Harold Jordan Center (HJC) Quality Review Report: The Harold Jordan Center (HJC) received their report from the Quality Review Panel’s June site visit to review compliance with the Settlement Agreement sections IV, V, and IX. The results were quite positive, with full compliance noted in 22 areas, partial compliance in 6 areas, and non-compliance in only 1 area. In particular, the QRP noted that class members supported at HJC have many opportunities to integrate into the community and exercise their rights to vote, hold memberships, and be in regular contact with family and friends. Significant environmental changes were noted to "have resulted in programmatic changes to allow class members opportunities for experiential learning to practice social skills budgeting, decision-making, and home living skills" as well as "access to the lobby area, courtyard, and outdoor spaces." Congratulations to the hard-working staff of HJC who have made this happen!


  • Community Transition Policy (Policy #080.4.7): A reminder for providers to please be mindful that a new Community Transition Policy (Policy #80.4.7) recently went into effect on June 2, 2012. With that policy are two numbered forms (0602 and 0603) that each Regional Office expects to receive, answered fully, in order to facilitate smooth transitions for persons served. The forms request detailed information that is needed on the Community Transition Planning form and the Notification of Transition form.  

    The correct numbered forms can be found with the policy on the DIDD website at http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/provider_agencies/policies.shtml. Some providers are sending in a version of the Community Transition Planning form that is not in the format that was approved with the policy. When all the information is not received or on the correct forms, the transition cannot be completed timely due to requesting clarifications and/or correct forms.

  • clip1Trousdale School: This week, I had the opportunity to visit Trousdale School in Cleveland. I received a tour of the school where I observed students learning computer skills and daily living skills such as laundry, cleaning, and job training. After the tour, a round table discussion was held about future plans to expand. Trousdale does not receive any state or federal funding. Tuition is based on a sliding scale and a majority of students receive partial scholarships.

    After the discussion, several people including Representative Kevin Brooks, Representative Eric Watson, Senator Mike Bell, as well as the County and City Mayor, participated in a ribbon cutting. Members of the Cleveland Daily Banner also accompanied.  The highlight of the visit was a musical performance by the students at the Trousdale School and presenting a Certificate of Appreciation signed by Governor Haslam to Tom Johnson, founder of Trousdale School. A very special thanks to Shannon Clark, Executive Director, and the entire Trousdale staff for a memorable visit and experience. 

  • clip2Community Visit: Following the Trousdale visit, I stopped by New Life, formerly called Franklin County Adult Activity Center (FCAAC). Representative David Alexander accompanied and staff from The Herald Chronicle were present. We toured New Life’s workshop and met with several staff. Afterwards, a Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to Janie Lovett. Ms. Lovett served on the FCAAC Board of Directors since 1987. She has generously given her time, energy, and resources to contribute to persons with disabilities throughout Franklin County. The day’s events concluded with a roundtable discussion with staff and board members. I was also honored to receive a birdhouse presented by Christy Isley and Kay Snell at New Life. Thank you to Robert Wright, Executive Director and all New Life staff for their time and hospitality. It was a wonderful visit.


  • Network Accreditation Kick-Off: The third and final kick-off occurred August 16th at Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson. Department and CQL officials presented on various topics including, "Network Accreditation: Why Now?" and "Network Accreditation for Person-Centered Excellence: Evaluating Network Quality." The event was another huge success and thank you to everyone who coordinated this effort.

  • West Region Person-Centered Unit: Some of you may already know about the new sub-unit to be added to Regional Staff Development referred to as the Person Centered Unit. New staff persons joining the Staff Development/Person Centered Unit are: Karla Goodman, Pat Brumley and Susan Kurts-Acred. We are in the process of coordinating planning statewide to develop strategies for effective implementation.  Planning and development will focus on the following core responsibilities:

1.  Facilitating Person Centered Planning (PCP) for persons with Intellectual Disabilities       entering the DIDD service delivery system through Intake. PCP should begin from the first          day of entry to the Medicaid Waiver service.
2.  Facilitating Person Centered Planning for people transitioning from nursing homes and mental health centers, specifically At Risk Class members.
3.  Facilitating Person Centered Planning for people with high risk behavior.
4.  Facilitating Person Centered Planning for people as requested to assist them to have better        lives.
5.  Facilitating Person Centered Planning for people who want to work in the community.

As we move forward, information will be provided regarding any new processes, resources, and/or training.

  • An Ounce of Prevention: The focus for this issue is on the advancement of funds to an individual by a provider who serves as that individual’s Representative Payee.  Newly renumbered personal funds management policy #80.4.3 addresses this practice in section VI. B.8.

    Some common clarification requests involve the following issues. Please note that:
    The Representative Payee is not obligated to advance funds to an individual. If the provider choses to do so, written policies and procedures must be in place. Repayment of any advanced funds by the individual is not automatic or a given. Some providers choose to write off advances at the end of their fiscal year and this is an acceptable accounting practice. A critical requirement comes into play when a provider advances funds and does expect repayment from the individual at a later date. In some cases, when the funds were advanced, a written agreement was not prepared or signed. In these situations, a signed written agreement which describes the current payment expectation must be completed as specified in the policy.

  • Greeneville Focus Group: The next meeting is August 23, 2012 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Greene County Skills (Conference Room).  Please join this forum whereby participants assist one another in learning how to effectively express feelings and desires in an effort to enhance quality of life. Rep. Payee and budgeting will be topics of discussion. Friends, direct support professionals, advocates, ISCs and others are welcome. Please RSVP before August 22nd to Chaneth.Quemore@tn.gov  or jwinters@thearctn.org as lunch will be provided.


  • Employee Recognition: Congratulations to Milan Miller, QA Surveyor in Middle Tennessee, for his nomination for Song of the Year for the International Bluegrass Music Awards. The name of the song is "Pretty Little Girl from Galax." Obviously, we would like to think that Milan’s talent comes partly from his years of writing survey reports. Never let it be said that DIDD staff are not a multi-talented group. Awards will be announced on September 27th. We certainly wish Milan well!

  • Tennessee Family Support Charter Member Recognition: The Family Support Council participates with DIDD in developing policies and procedures for the Family Support Program. The program is based on a strong volunteer foundation, using more than 200 volunteers statewide.  On Tuesday, I joined the Family Support State Council and Carol Westlake (Tennessee Disability Coalition) in recognizing sixteen Charter Members that have been working with the program since it was formalized in 1992 with the General Assembly passage of legislation.  It was a privilege to share a letter written to the Charter members form the First Lady of Tennessee – "Your commitment to provide assistance to families of individuals with disabilities is exactly the kind of service that makes us proud to be called "The Volunteer State." It is rare to find individuals that have dedicated almost twenty years to one program/mission. We applaud these Charter members and each and every one of the volunteers with the program.