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August 24, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • New Central Office Employee:  Our current Director of Provider Supports and Services, Richard Strecker, has announced his retirement effective August 31st.  We wish him the best in all his future endeavors!  

    DIDD is pleased to announce that Mr. Jordan Allen will be joining the Central Office on September 4th as the Director of Provider Supports and Services in the Program Operations unit.  Jordan began his career in 1991 as a mental health technician in Florida and later served as a direct care person for both an organization in Ohio known as LADD, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled and Resources for Human Development (RHD).  Over the course of his career, he has worked as a home manager, residential manager, quality assurance coordinator, and director of community living programs. Most recently, Jordan has served since 2005 as the Agency Director of RHD in Tennessee.  Given his vast experience in not only the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities but also mental health and his determination to continually impact service delivery, Jordan will make a wonderful addition to the DIDD team.

  • New Employee:  The WTRO would like to welcome aboard Tori Lindsey as the Director of Operations for the West region.  Tori brings more than 26 years of health and leadership experience of which the past 10 years has been spent working in the field of IDD.  She has served in several roles ranging from a CSN Case Manager, Nurse Research Associate for NKR & Associates and as Director of Operations ICF/MR for Guardian Community Living (GCL).  As a Registered Nurse, she has worked in areas to include Intensive Care Units, Psychiatry, Utilization Management, and Assistant Director of Trinity Healthcare Services.  Tori can be reached at 901-745-7301.


  • Person Centered Excellence Network Accreditation, On Target:  Twelve DIDD employees from each region and Central Office completed the first step in becoming certified trainers for the Personal Outcome Measures (POM) workshop.  Rochelle Centers, Inc. hosted the workshop that took place on August 13-16 in Nashville.  During these four days, trainer candidates learned how to interview people served, staff, families, ISCs and Case Managers to gather information in order to determine the presence or absence of the 21 Personal Outcome Measures (POM) and the supports needed to ensure POMs are present in people's lives.  DIDD is very thankful for all the work Rochelle Centers did in order to make this workshop a success.  Please visit the Council on Quality and Leadership's (CQL) website for history and information regarding the development of the POMs at www.thecouncil.org.

    If your agency is interested in hosting a workshop, please contact Laura.Doutre@tn.gov.  Hosting a workshop is an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the Council on Quality and Leadership and Person Centered Excellence.


  • Commissioner’s Roundtable:  The final roundtable in East TN was held August 21-22 in Knoxville.  I met with representatives from 14 community agencies and other DIDD staff to discuss an array of issues related to service provision and network improvements.  Discussion centered on several topics including budget planning, system accreditation, realignment of provider support staff, person centered planning team, accreditation teams, policy/procedure manual revisions, licensure, Quality Management, health care systems initiatives, customer focus groups, and a lawsuit status update.

  • Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Cost Reporting:  Assistant Commissioner Iverson and I would like to extend a job well done to DIDD Fiscal and Budget staff.  Staff were able to complete the annual cost reports for the West Tennessee homes, East Tennessee homes, Greene Valley Developmental Center, and Clover Bottom Developmental Center over a month before the due date required by the Department of Finance and Administration.  With the cost reports completed, DIDD was able to furnish the TennCare Bureau with DIDDs accounts receivable so that TennCare may proceed with closing its accounting records for fiscal year 2011-2012.

    Financial Officer Jeff Smith noted this is the first time in over 10 years that DIDD has been able to complete the cost reports without asking for a time extension from TennCare.  Earlier in the year, I expressed a desire to be among the first of agencies to close fiscal year 2011-2012 and DIDD is well on its way.  Jeff also credited the centralization of fiscal services in enabling Fiscal and Budget to have the resources and timeframe needed to be successful in this undertaking.

  • Central Office Employee Meeting:  A reminder for Central Office employees on the 13th and 15th floors of the Andrew Jackson Building to attend this important meeting on August 28, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. in the 13th floor large conference room to discuss upcoming densification plans.  Exciting changes are underway to include cost-savings, better parking, and more professional work arrangements.  Further details will be shared at the meeting.


  • Person Centered Organizations:  The department, in collaboration with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, is pleased to announce the expansion of Tennessee’s Person Centered Organization initiative to three new sites this year:  Journey’s in Community Living, Orange Grove Center, and the Michael Dunn Center.  Training and activities at the newest Person Centered Organizations will commence in September.

  • Crisis Information Sheet:  Protection from Harm recently collaborated with law enforcement to develop the Crisis Information Sheet (click here).  The Crisis Information Sheet is a resource intended to assist agencies in providing critical information to first responders when they arrive to the scene for situations involving a person served by DIDD.  The tool is designed to be user-friendly and offers critical information that law enforcement noted was especially important to receive upon their arrival.  It may serve to be especially beneficial to agencies who serve people with a history of elopement or who are at higher risk of elopement.  The Crisis Information Sheet is being offered to agencies to use voluntarily and is not required.  Please contact Dr. Rebekah A. Thomas, Director of Protection from Harm, at Rebekah.A.Thomas@tn.gov if you have any questions.


  • Provider Manual:  As a reminder, Chapter 18.2b.3 of the Provider Manual states, “Providers must ensure that legal representatives of persons supported must always be notified as soon as possible once the decision is made to investigate an incident for alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation.”  The provider is responsible for notifying the legal representative(s).  This is not the responsibility of the Investigator.  Please contact Dr. Rebekah A. Thomas at 615-532-2402 if you have any questions.

  • T.E.A.M. Act:  Exciting changes are taking place in Tennessee state government.  Under the leadership of Governor Haslam, the T.E.A.M. Act will radically change processes and procedures for state employees.  Over the next few weeks, one of several areas of change will be presented with highlights of the changes that state employees can expect to see unfold beginning October 1, 2012.  The T.E.A.M. Act is a historic initiative that will transform Tennessee state government.

  • Clarification Regarding Community Transition Policy: DIDD does not require any particular forms to be used for community transitions.  Although forms are referred to in the Community Transition Policy, the content of the forms are the actual requirement, not the form itself.  If you have questions regarding any DIDD Policy, please contact Jeanine.C.Miller@tn.gov.


  • Employment Conference:  Register for the September 14, “Realizing Potential: The Power of Competitive Employment” Conference by Noon CDT on Friday, August 31.  Attendance at the conference is free.  As I announced last week, this conference will be the starting point for a statewide conversation about increasing the number of people in competitive, integrated employment and decreasing the number of people in sheltered workshops.  Visit 

    http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/EmploymentFirst/RealizingPotential.shtml  for more information about the conference and how to register.  Again, I strongly encourage all of our facility-based day providers to send at least one representative to the conference.  It will be a conversation that you want to be a part of.
  • Supports Intensity Scale (SIS):  Mark your calendars for some exciting training for the new SIS

    coming in October.  All training times are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at each location.  Please see the schedule below:


October 9, 2012: Jackson-Madison County Public Library (Jackson)
October 10, 2012: One Cannon Way Basement, Clover Bottom (Nashville)
October 11, 2012: L.T. Ross Building (Knoxville)

Training topics will include a SIS overview, how to use the SIS report and time for questions and answers.  We will provide more detailed information, including driving directions to the locations in future editions as we complete the plans for this training.

  • clip 1Greene Valley Developmental Center Therapy Dog:  Gus is an 11-year-old Labrador Retriever that is loved by most everyone who lives in Pinewood Cottage at Greene Valley Developmental Center.  His volunteer service as a therapy dog began in 2004, and he immediately became an important friend to many people.  Gus is a real professional at bestowing unconditional love and attention, and has an uncanny ability to know when someone needs his undivided attention.  Gus is considered a canine senior citizen and is having some difficulty with walking.  His owner is Mike Whitt, a physical therapy assistant at Greene Valley, so Mike knew how to help Gus continue doing what he does best. 

    clip 2Mike’s good friends had a dog with the same type of nerve damage as Gus, so they gave him a type of “doggie walker” in memory of their beloved dog Loki.  It supports Gus’s hindquarters while allowing him to use his legs to propel around the home.  Gus is one of Wendell “Bunky” Monhollen’s best friends.  Although Bunky and Gus need help with mobility, they know how to have fun by swapping their “wheels” for a mat and Gus’s toys! 


  • Transition NOW:  The taskforce has spent the last week or more reviewing and finalizing the efforts of the At-Risk (AR) Team relative to educating class members residing in nursing homes, as well as their legal decision makers about service delivery models available through DIDD.  The taskforce has also worked to finalize the documents for the informational and educational marketing package that will soon be ready for distribution.  The collaborative work with the Court Monitor’s Office on prioritizing class members who would benefit from community placement has been completed.  In addition, as the taskforce continues to operate from the “continuous improvement model,” the members have worked with the AR Nursing Home Transition Team to re-define the stages of transitions based on informed choice.  Finally, work has begun on revising tools for the Assessment and Intervention AR team members to ensure consistency of the review processes of quality care of class members residing in the nursing facilities.


  • Nashville Focus Group:  The dance sponsored by the Nashville Focus Group will be held at One Cannon Way at Clover Bottom Developmental Center on Friday, September 7th from 11 a.m-2 p.m.  All are welcome.  There is no admission charge and snacks will be provided.  Several providers have volunteered their help and we are very grateful to them.