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September 7, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,

Below, are various items I would like to share:

  • Direct Support Professionals Week:  Each year, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are honored nationwide during the week of September 9-15 for their service and contributions to persons we serve.  DSPs are the front line of care in our service delivery system.  They assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), communicate the person’s wants and desires (if needed), and often know what is in their best interests.  Please be sure to thank your professionals who care, support, and devote their time so persons served can live a fulfilled life and maintain optimal health. 

    The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) provided several ideas to celebrate this important week.  Some of these include holding an appreciation lunch, gift cards, or hosting a special event for DSPs.  For more information on DSP Recognition Week, please visit ANCORs site at http://www.nationaladvocacycampaign.org/newsroom/news/dsp-recognition-week-2012.  On behalf of DIDD, we extend our sincere gratitude to all DSPs.  Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed!

  • Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget Planning:  On August 17, Commissioner Mark A. Emkes of the Department of Finance and Administration, notified state agencies to submit their budget proposals at a five percent reduced level of state funding from the fiscal year 2012-2013 amount.  Top agency budget staff have already met with leadership of the East and Middle regions and are currently in the West Region to complete the regional budget discussions and submit regional budget plans for my review.  Thanks to regional leadership for giving so much of their time to fully engage in this critical effort.

    Central office leadership has also been reviewing their own budgets in their administrative areas.  I take budget management of this department extremely seriously and expect to give persons served and taxpayers the best services that the state can afford.  I expect a public budget hearing will be conducted in November by the Governor on budget plans for fiscal year 2013-2014. 

  • Speaker’s Bureau Peer Nominations:  Several weeks ago, I announced a call for interested candidates to submit their names for the DIDD Speaker’s Bureau.  We received many responses and are in the process of developing a committee to review qualifications.  Now, I’d like to ask those involved in the ID/DD field to nominate others in our field who they have learned from or believe have something to offer.  If interested, please submit the name of the person you wish to be considered.  Provide a brief explanation outlining why this person would be a good candidate and their contact information.  Once the committee has reviewed submissions, candidates will be contacted via e-mail with further details if chosen to participate.  E-mail all nominations to Missy Marshall at Missy.Marshall@tn.gov.


  • Conference:  The annual meeting of the Tennessee Chapter of the National Association for Dual Diagnosis will be held on September 20 and 21 at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville.  The agenda features presentations on a broad range of topics including a keynote address by Dr. Thomas Cheetham.  Dr. Rebekah A. Thomas, Director of Protection from Harm, will also present a discussion on “Empowering People with Intellectual Disabilities to Develop, Nurture, and Sustain Healthy and Meaningful Relationships.”  The conference brochure with registration instructions is attached.

  • Statewide Planning and Policy Council:  The Statewide Planning and Policy Council (SPPC) met in August and considered available information about the Department’s upcoming budget.  Following suggestions from the West, Middle, and East Planning and Policy Councils (PPC) and the Developmental Disabilities PPC, the SPPC made the following recommendations to DIDD:


    • Establish a definition for “developmental disabilities” and once that definition is established, research the approximate number of Tennesseans that will meet that criterion.
    • Continue the current level of funding for the Family Support Program with all recurring funds.
    • Always use person-centered language when referring to those with a disability.
    • Explore the use of various technologies, such as sensory devices, alarms, and video monitoring, in residential settings which will support a less restrictive environment.
    • Develop a waiver-funded residential model that provides less than 24-hour supervision, e.g. semi-independent living.
    • Allocate a five percent rate increase for providers in the 2013-2014 budget.

  • Basic Assurances Overview:  The Basic Assurances Measures Overview presented by CQL, is scheduled for October 3, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the River of Life Church on Stewart's Ferry Pike in Nashville.  To register, go to this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RPHS9CH.

    Every agency should ensure at least one person attends the overview.  This overview will provide key information regarding how DIDD will become accredited.  Basic Assurances® define safeguards from the person’s perspective.  While the Basic Assurances® require systems and policies and procedures, they measure the effectiveness of systems or the policy by actual practice, person by person.  Published in 2005, CQL’s Basic Assurances® include ten (10) factors and 46 indicators.  These Basic Assurances® are a balance between concerns for individual Health, Safety and Security and the necessity of social constructs such as Respect, Natural Supports and Social Networks to ensure sustainable outcomes for people.

  • Personal Outcome Measures (POM):  This week’s POM will focus on “People Choose Where and With Whom They Live.”  In order to support persons having this outcome present in their lives, we should ensure:
    • The person is key to the decision-making process
    • Where and with whom people live are based upon the person’s decision
    • People must be presented with an array of options
    • The person’s preferences and unique characteristics are considered

Last week’s POM should have read, “People Are Treated Fairly” instead of “People Are Treated Freely.”  We regret the error.

  • State Housing Inspectors:  In early October, the State Housing Inspectors have been scheduled to attend a comprehensive training program for home inspectors.  Consequently, there will be no housing inspections scheduled during the week of October 1 or on Friday, October 12 for most parts of the state.  The areas affected will be West, Middle, and the counties in East TN not inspected by the Kingsport Housing Authority.  The housing inspectors can be contacted via e-mail and will respond to them as time allows.


  • Transition NOW Taskforce:  The taskforce has completed the final documents for the informational and educational marketing package and they are ready for printing.  Second, a meeting was held this week with representatives from the Disability Law and Advocacy Center (DLAC) to discuss the script that will be used in developing the video about community life that will become a part of the marketing package.  The revision of the Nursing Home Review Tool has been completed and all members of the Assessment and Intervention At-Risk Team will be using the tool for consistency of the review process of quality care of class members residing in the nursing facilities.  Finally, discussions have begun with provider agencies regarding filling their existing vacancies with class members in nursing homes, as well as expansion of services to support them. 

    If there are provider agencies that have vacancies needing to be filled or are interested in supporting class members who transition from nursing facilities, please contact Vickey Coleman, State Director of Advocacy Services/Transition NOW Lead at 901-356-6324 or Vickey.Coleman@tn.gov.

  • Employment Conference:  Over 300 people have registered for the Employment Conference, “Realizing Potential: The Power of Competitive Employment,” on September 14 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville.  We will start promptly at 10, so please arrive in time to register and enjoy the continental breakfast.  Due to popular demand, registration has been extended to 5:00 p.m. CDT on Monday, September 10.  The conference is free.  However, you must register to attend.

    Please register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSVP_DayServices.  For more information, e-mail Julie Huber at Julie.Huber@tn.gov.

  • T.E.A.M. Act:  A number of changes are taking place regarding state hiring practices for Career Service positions under the T.E.A.M. Act.  Beginning October 1, applicants will no longer be rank-ordered on registers, which means that supervisors will be able to interview and hire anyone on the register.  However, a list of necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies will have to be developed for each Career Service position before a register can be pulled for it.  Central Office HR is working with DIDD management to prioritize the order in which the lists will be developed for each position.  Additionally, beginning October 1, the term “Career Service” will no longer be used.  The term “Preferred Service” will be the new designation for Career Service positions and employees.


  • Memphis Focus Group:   The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at SRVS.  SRVS is located at 3971 Knight Arnold Road, directly across the street from Delta Medical Center.  All are welcome and lunch will be served.  This month’s focus is on anger management strategies.