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September 14, 2012

Open Line

DIDD Team,
Below, are various items I would like to share:

Arlington Lawsuit Update:  For over twenty years, ongoing litigation has cost DIDD valuable time and resources.  While we are pursuing tireless efforts to end the Arlington lawsuit, a few setbacks remain.  Judge McCalla, presiding over the Arlington Federal Litigation, recently denied the state’s Motion to Vacate and issued an order for mandatory mediation.  This litigation to date has cost the taxpayers of Tennessee over 270 million dollars.  Adding to the expense, this week the court directed the state to pay $557,771.37 of a requested $834,441.74 for People First attorney fees.  At this time, the state is reviewing whether an appeal will be filed.  In addition to the People First fees, the DIDD budget must also cover the court monitor’s fees.  This week we received the most recent bill which amounted to $57,000.00 for the month of June.  It is important for all of us to be aware of the fiscal impact on the DIDD budget and to recognize for every dollar spent on litigation, we lose the opportunity for a two-dollar federal match to spend on providing services.

New Employees:  DIDD is pleased to announce Leslie Vincent and Holly Tramil have joined the Policy Division as Policy and Procedure Analysts.  Both will help facilitate the policy review process and assist the Director of Policy in managing multiple projects.  Leslie joins DIDD from the Department of Correction’s central office where he served as a Contract Compliance and Quality Assurance Monitor.  He is also licensed in Tennessee as a Senior Psychological Examiner.  Leslie holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Mississippi State University.  Holly’s experience with DIDD encompasses five years, most recently assisting the Office of Communications and External Affairs.  She has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University and is currently working on her doctorate in Counseling Education and Supervision.  “Leslie and Holly each bring unique skill sets and knowledge to the Policy Division.  I am certain they will be an asset to our entire team and we are excited to have them join us,” stated Dr. Jeanine C. Miller, Director of Policy.

T.E.A.M. Act:  The Department of Human Resources (DOHR) is proposing to discontinue up to 57 of its written and/or computer-based performance tests, effective October 1, 2012.  This should reduce the time and cost associated with getting applicants on registers for the classifications for which these tests were being conducted.  DOHR is currently soliciting feedback from agency HR Directors about this issue.

An Ounce of Prevention :  In the August 17, 2012 edition, some of the elements surrounding the advancement of funds to an individual by a provider were addressed.  The final sentence of the article stated “….a signed written agreement which describes the current payment expectation must be completed as specified in the policy.”

Upon further review, it was noted that the current version of policy 80.4.3 lacks the phrase “if applicable” which was in the prior version.  This inadvertent omission is being corrected and the updated policy will state: If the person- supported is not competent to enter into the agreement with the provider, there must be a signed written agreement between the provider and the person’s conservator or legal representative, if applicable,  describing the loan amount and the repayment plan as described above.

The phrase “if applicable” is necessary because each conservatorship is specific to the individual and their needs.  The conservatorship document must indicate that the conservator has authority to make decisions in financial matters and enter into an agreement on the individual’s behalf. 

Personal Outcome Measures (POM):  This week’s outcome focuses on People Choose Where They Work.  In order to support people having this outcome present, we should:

  • Assist people to locate employment that matches their goals, desires, skills and aptitudes.
  • A full array of work, training, and other opportunities is made available to people.
  • Provide opportunities for different experiences and explore and respect individual preferences.

A reminder also that 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.

State-Owned ICF/IID Construction Update:  Levine & Poor, Inc. was accepted to be the contractor for construction of Phase I of the Middle Tennessee Community Homes, which consists of four homes.  The bids were opened on July 31, 2012 for review.  The contract is being developed and the signature process is in place.  The “Notice to Proceed” will be issued after the contract is fully executed.  We project that the “Notice to Proceed” will be issued later this month and groundbreaking will occur the first part of October.   

Phase IV, the last phase, consisting of three East Tennessee Community Homes is currently on hold because of a water flow issue regarding fire protection for one of the lots.  The Department of General Services State Architects office is currently working with Glen Hills Utility District in issuing a grant to the utility district to assist with upgrading the water flow to the lot.  After the necessary utilities are in place, the state will advertise this project for bidding.  We are optimistically estimating for all the necessary requirements to take place and construction to begin by March 2013. 

Honoring September 11: What do 150+ motorcycles and a transfer truck mean to Greene Valley on the day before 9/11? The answer is two-fold:  (1) it is a show of patriotism and respect for our military men and women who gave it all in Vietnam, and (2) it is a display of patriotism and respect for the members of Rolling Thunder® as they accompanied the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica on its journey to Johnson City for a 5-day display.  When the Wall came through 3 years ago, several members of Rolling Thunder® Inc. Chapter 4 TN remarked about the number of people who were standing by Greene Valley’s roadway waving American flags, standing at salute, or with hands over their hearts.  Although Greene Valley is smaller in numbers of persons served and staff, its heart beats as loud as ever.  Canopies went up, decorations were attached, and the utility poles were decorated with American flags and streamers.  Rolling Thunder® was enthusiastically greeted by a multitude of flag waving supporters as they passed by Greene Valley with the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica.  Rolling Thunder® Inc. is a veteran organization with a mission of publicizing the POW-MIA issue and a commitment of helping American veterans from all wars.

Nashville Focus Group: The Nashville Focus Group held their first dance on September 7, 2012.  Over 150 people came and the dance was enjoyed by everyone.  Special thanks to the providers who supported the event, as well as those who donated their time and provided treats to make this a special event.  Connexus and Omni-Visions were the major supporters of food and music for this event.  The others were:  Rochelle, Starcare, Skills, Buffalo River Services, Support Solutions, New Horizons, Compassionate Care, RHD, Progress, Millar-Rich, Restoration, Prospect, and Harold Jordan Center.  Food and technical support were provided by:  Sherry Baskerville, Annie Bernard, Jane Craig, Marlin Cox, Kay Meeks, Kathleen Donaldson, Amanda Parsons, Odie Ames, Wanda Amos, and Aisha Mansaray.  Special thanks also to Diana Davis and Levi Harris.  The focus group members planned the dance themselves and the outcome was tremendous fun for all who attended and participated.

The next event is a Job Fair on October 9, 2012 from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. in the basement of One Cannon Way at Clover Bottom Developmental Center.  Lunch will be provided.  Individuals are encouraged to come and share their art work and discuss job opportunities in the community.  Everyone is welcome.

Greeneville Focus Group: The next meeting will occur at Greene County Skills in their conference room on September 25, 2012 from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.  Discussion topics will include finances and personal funds.  Everyone is welcome, but please RSVP before September 25 to Chaneth Quemore at Chaneth.Quemore@tn.gov, as lunch will be provided.