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September 28, 2012

Open Line

Greetings DIDD Team,
This edition of Open Line includes information I want to share with you:

  • picCommunity Visit:  This week, I met with Volunteers of America (VOA) leadership at their Nashville office.  I also had the opportunity to spend time with persons supported at their home in Old Hickory.  It was a great visit.  Many thanks to Monica Virgo, Tamika Blair, and Dalila Edwards for the support they provide to Sean, Pamela and Patsy.
    After the visit, I accompanied VOA staff to Hermitage to see the residents of Crescent Valley.  Dakita, Dorthea, and Dale were great hosts!  I learned that Dakita loves jewelry, Dorthea collects hats, and Dale really wants to go on an adventure sometime in the very near future!  Thank you to all three ladies, as well as Brenda Therral and Karen League, who help support and care for them.
    Special thanks to President and CEO Jane Burks, Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Hancock, Randy Brothers, and Sherall Ruffatto for organizing the day’s events and visit.
  • Best Buddies:  This week, I presented a Certificate of Appreciation from Governor Haslam to Annaliese Barron for her work with Best Buddies.  This non-profit organization was founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver so persons with disabilities can have one-on-one peer partnerships.  Its mission is to “create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”  Ms. Barron, whose son has Down Syndrome, found out about Best Buddies shortly after he was born.  After discovering a Tennessee chapter didn’t exist, Ms. Barron pursued fundraising efforts in order to establish one.  Due to her dedication and the support of Coach Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators, Best Buddies has evolved into a successful program with plans underway for a program in the Lakeland community in Memphis. 


  • Rochelle Center:  On Thursday, I stopped over at BagelWORKS & Perks in Brentwood, which is owned and operated by the Rochelle Center.  During the visit, I learned that 22 persons have the opportunity to choose BagelWORKS & Perks as an option during the day.  There are generally eight persons in two shifts of four with a daily job coach, in addition to other restaurant staff.  In its four years of operation, BagelWORKS & Perks has a wide customer base which includes HCA, United Way, The Tennessean, Crown Ford, Vanderbilt SEC sporting events, and Tennessee Titans flights to away games.  Thank you Debbie Chadwick, Executive Director and BagelWORKS staff for taking time out of your schedules.  I also enjoyed spending time with Marilyn and Kevin, who are pictured on the right.
  • E-mails:  Like many of you, I average well over 100 e-mails every day and don’t always get to respond as quickly as I’d like.  I don’t want anything to go unanswered so when I do have time, I go back through my inbox to respond.  However, there may sometimes be a snag as the state e-mail system deletes all e-mails after 90 days.  If you ever send an e-mail and don’t get an answer within a timely manner, please resend it to me with “Second Attempt” in the subject line to bring it back to my attention.  Communication is important to me and I appreciate our exchange of ideas.
  • Loaned Executive Program:  Several responses were received from CEOs on their interest in the Central Office Loaned Executive program.  I am pleased to announce the following providers will participate: Marcus Perez (Elite Behavior Analysis), Betty White (Prolex), Sheila Moore (The Arc Davidson County), Betty McNeely (Journeys in Community Living), Jennifer Enderson (Emory Valley Center), Ralph Kennedy (Tennessee Family Solutions), Tyler Hampton (SRVS), Tom Beeson (Breakthrough Corporation), Melanie Keller (Meritan), Mickey Atkins (D&S Community Services), Larry Durbin (Support Solutions of the Mid-South), Kyle Hauth (Orange Grove Center), and Mike McElhinney (Michael Dunn Center).  We will contact each participant next week to determine dates and discuss further details. 
  • Transition NOW:  The taskforce has been working to finalize the promotional package that will be used as an educational and information resource relating to the benefits of community life.  The package printing has now been completed.  Representatives from the Disability Law and Advocacy Center are also working on interviews for a video that will be a part of the promotional package.
    The taskforce continues to develop a list of provider agencies that have vacancies and/or are interested in expansion to support persons who are interested in moving from nursing homes.  Finally, work continues with the At-Risk Team members in refining processes for quality improvement.
  • Advocacy Services Expansion:  In October 2011, the Office of Advocacy Services was established to ensure the voices of the people supported and their families are heard and that as a Department, we become the main advocates for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  During the past 11 months, this office has mainly operated in the West Region.  Effective September 15, Advocacy Services has expanded to the Middle and East Regions, with an additional staff person in the West Region.  The following staff will be available to respond to the needs and concerns of persons supported and their families:

Yolanda Beason (West TN) 901-745-7523 or Yolanda.Beason@tn.gov
Sherry Baskerville (Middle TN) 615-231-5492 or Sherry.Baskerville@tn.gov
Chaneth Quemore (East TN) 865-588-0508 ext. 228 or Chaneth.Quemore@tn.gov

  • Personal Outcome Measure:  This week’s Personal Outcome Measure (POM) focuses on People Decide When to Share Information.  To have this outcome present, we should ensure information is not made public or shared with others without the person’s direct consent.  This means:
    • All information about a person is considered confidential
    • Written and verbal information
    • Even with permission, organizations should share only information that is relevant to services or required to support the person
  • Interrater Reliability:  I would like to congratulate the following people for achieving certification from the Council on Quality and Leadership as Interrater Reliable for administration of the Personal Outcome Measures.  This was no easy task to accomplish.  It took a lot of hard work and study to become certified.  Please join me in congratulating Allison Adkison, Kimerly Brown, Tina Taylor, Courtney Kelly, Ben Turnage, Jennifer Aldrich, Derrell Lankford, and Tony Pena.
    Certifications will continue into November with the East TN team.
  • Journeys in Community Living:  In preparation to become a Person Centered Organization, Betty McNeely and her staff concluded a two-day Person Centered Thinking training on September 26.  Journeys had three persons supported participate in this training, and their participation helped to make it an extraordinary training experience for all involved.
  • Licensure Update:  The assumption of licensure responsibilities is well underway for DIDD.  Commissioner Varney of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this week which outlines the actions each Department will be responsible for to achieve a smooth transition.
    To this end, licenses due to expire on or before November 30, 2012 will be renewed by through the Licensure Office of TDMHSAS.
    Licenses expiring December 31, 2012 and January 31, 2012 will be given a status of “extended,” indicating that the license is current and in effect.  These agencies will be issued licenses by DIDD in 2013 with an effective date retroactive to the original TDMHSAS licensure period.
    The DIDD Licensure Coordinators for each region will be glad to answer any questions you have.  They are Gale Carter (West) at 731-513-3754, Rita Tate (Middle) at 615-231-5379, and Elaine Matthews (East) at 423-434-6540.
  • Public Meeting:  The department will facilitate a public meeting for comments on its Authorization of Services (80.3.4) and Sanction (80.4.6) policies October 29 from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Clover Bottom Developmental Center in the basement of One Cannon Way.  For more information, please visit https://apps.tn.gov/pmn/sitemap/notice/1485.html.
  • Linda Maurer ISC Award Winner:  The Tennessee Alliance of Support Coordinators, Inc. (TASC) recently announced that Holly Broadway, employed by Neighborhood Network, is their West regional award recipient.  The award recognizes Independent Support Coordinators (ISCs) who have gone above and beyond in ensuring that person-centered practices, ethics, and professionalism help persons supported live a fulfilling life.  It also recognizes a commitment to changing the culture of ISC services in Tennessee.  The ceremony will be held  October 24 at Compass Coordination.  The department congratulates  Ms. Broadway on this outstanding accomplishment.
  • picGreene Valley Race Day:  The Race Club and Pinewood Cottage at Greene Valley Developmental Center hosted its 11th Annual Race Day last Thursday and it was an amazing event.  A crisp fall night, 172 vehicles, and over 275 visitors made for an outstanding Race Day at the Valley!
    The first Race Day was in 2001 with six dirt track cars from Volunteer Speedway, and it has grown into one of the major car shows in the local Greeneville/Greene County area.  This year’s event was an eclectic display of vehicles ranging from a 1929 Model A Ford to a Volkswagen boat car.  Classic muscle cars, go-karts, tractors, motorcycles, and customized lawnmowers were also at the race.
    Miniature train rides, face painting, and games were provided for the children to enjoy.  Greene Valley’s visitors were treated to a cookout and some tasty desserts as an expression of appreciation.  To highlight the evening, vehicles traveled around the campus parade-style and ended with drivers voting on the home decorated with the “Most Race Day Spirit.”  Everyone in Rosewood Cottage was thrilled to win the award.  This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of Ray Armentrout, a gentleman who lived in Pinewood Cottage until his passing.  Ray’s brother Paul was Grand Marshall and led the parade riding a John Deere tractor, one of Ray’s favorite pieces of farm equipment.
  • Jackson Focus Group:  The parents of persons supported in Jackson have suggested that we hold focus group meetings in that area.  Focus groups are a great part of socialization and building self-advocacy.  If any providers have suggestions on where to meet and how to ensure that everyone is properly invited, please call Tom O’Brien, Director of Complaint Resolution at (615) 517-6088.  Vickey Coleman, Statewide Director of Advocacy Services, has also offered to help with this new project.