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October 5, 2012

Open Line

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

Central Office Move:  The department received specifics of the Central Office move from the planners of the state’s office modernization project.  We will be moving to our temporary location, the Frost Building, on December 7.  The Frost Building, former building for the Baptist Sunday School Board, is located at 161 8th Ave. North in downtown Nashville.  Throughout the whole transitional process and also at our permanent location, we will keep our existing phone numbers.  An orientation will be set up for Central Office to train all employees on the move procedures.  It is estimated that Central Office will be relocated to its permanent location at the Citizens Plaza Building in September 2013.

Farewell:  In response to an opportunity to return to Oregon and live closer to her family, Julie Huber, Statewide Director of Day Services, will be leaving DIDD on November 16.  “This is a very bittersweet time.  I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed working with Commissioner Henry to advance the employment of Tennesseans with disabilities.  I have learned so much from him.  However, I am also delighted to be joining the team at the Oregon Office of Developmental Disability Services in a similar capacity to my current role with DIDD.  It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve Tennesseans with disabilities and their families.  I know the future in Tennessee is bright with possibilities,” Huber said. 

Julie has been an asset to the department and a driving force in our employment initiatives for Tennesseans with disabilities.  Because of her efforts, Tennessee was able to obtain an employment grant as a Protégé State from the Office of Disability Employment Policy to increase employment for persons with disabilities.  Her skill and expertise will be hard to replace.  She will greatly be missed and we wish her the best in Oregon.

Disability Employment Month:  As this year’s theme, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the US Department of Labor has selected: “An Inclusive Workforce is A Strong Workforce.”   Additionally, ODEP has posed a challenge to each of us: “So, what can you do?”  DIDD would like to hear what YOU are doing to increase the number of Tennesseans with disabilities who are working.  The best stories and practices will be posted on the DIDD website.  Priority will be given to practices that include a focus on building alliances with your Local Workforce Investment Area.  Email your stories to your DIDD Regional Employment & Day Services Coordinator by October 31, 2012 with the subject line: “Our Answer to ODEP’s Challenge.”

Their email addresses can be found at: http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/EmploymentFirst/index.shtml as well as a host of other resources.

Basic Assurances Overview:  On October 3, CQL|The Council on Quality and Leadership hosted a Basic Assurances Overview workshop for DIDD providers and staff.  Attendees had the opportunity to learn about CQLs ten Basic Assurances factors and participate in various team exercises.  CQL executives presented an overview of its mission, vision, and expectations for the network accreditation process.  Additionally, the importance of departmental policies aligning with Basic Assurances was highlighted.

CQL 2012 Conference:  CQL held its annual conference October 4-5 in downtown Nashville at the Sheraton hotel.  I was honored to present opening remarks and shared a letter from former Governor Ned McWherter from the Department of Justice outlining neglect and abuse findings for Arlington Developmental Center residents in 1991.  I acknowledged the letter because it’s important to talk about where we’ve been and the vision of where we’re headed in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field.  The department is grateful for CQLs partnership and expertise in assisting with the network accreditation process.  We look forward to collaborating with CQL to become the top accredited system nationwide and internationally.  For more information on CQL, please visit http://www.thecouncil.org/whoweaccredit.aspx.

Personal Outcome Measures:  This week’s personal outcome measure focuses on People Live in Integrated Environments.  The key issue is people live and carry out routine activities in the same settings used by other people.  To have this outcome present, we should ensure:

  • People with disabilities have the same rights to access environments as all other citizens
  • The environments a person chooses are usually determined by preference and activity
  • Supports enable the person to freely choose

Interrater Reliable:  I would like to congratulate Kelly Bradley-Owens and Amber Perry from the Chattanooga office on becoming the most recent DIDD accreditation team members to become certified as reliable interviewers for Personal Outcome Measures by the Council on Quality and Leadership.  In addition, Derrell Lankford and Jennifer Aldrich have been certified as Personal Outcome Measures workshop trainers.

Self-Advocate Mentor Training:  This week, the Council on Quality and Leadership began working with eleven self-advocate mentors from Tennessee who used DIDD services.  The self-advocate mentors completed two days of training regarding their roles in the accreditation process.  These mentors will be an important part of the DIDD accreditation team and will be conducting focus groups and holding conversations with people across the state that use services to learn what they expect from the DIDD service delivery system.  Congratulations to Doris Price, Ashley Miller, Patrick Sanders, Chelse James, Charity James, Hugh McLeary, Arthur Howard, Mary Bowman, Aaron Bouchard, Nancy Fellows, and Ernie Rourke on completing this training.  I look forward to learning about what they have heard from people across Tennessee.

Policies:  The following policies have been published on the department’s website at


Transportation (80.5.4)- No changes, reformatted and renumbered
Limited English Proficiency (80.4.8)
Title VI (10.2.7)

Insurance Changes for State Employees:  The Annual Enrollment/Transfer Period (AETP) for insurance benefits runs from October 1 through November 1, 2012.  During this time you can enroll in the new Vision insurance program, which is effective January 1, 2013, and make changes to your existing insurance benefits.  There will be new Partnership Promise requirements, and premiums, specialist office visit co-pays, emergency room co-pays, some pharmacy co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums will be increasing.  Additional information is available in the 2013 Decision Guide which you should have received at your home address by now.  You can also get information by clicking on the following link:  www.partnersforhealthtn.gov.  If you wish to make changes, please note that Benefits Administration will not accept hard copy forms, and you will be required to make your changes through Employee Self-Service in Edison.  If you didn’t get a Decision Guide and need one or if you have any questions, please contact your HR office.

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget Request:  On October 1st, DIDD presented the department’s requested budget for FY 2013-2014 to the Department of Finance and Administration as statutorily required.  This request included planning for a reduction in state funding available to the department.  During the weeks leading up to October 1st, I received budget presentations from both regional leadership and central office leadership on their budget plans modeled on the budget hearing style used by the Governor.  I believe this process improved the participation of all DIDD leadership in making budgetary decisions.  I expect to present details of this budget request to the Governor in a public budget hearing in November.

Flu Shots:  Last week Governor Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam received an influenza immunization to stress the importance of this preventive measure.  Dr. Cheetham reminded me that a disproportionately high number of children with neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders died from influenza related complications during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; this underscores the harm seasonal flu can cause.  Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities may have heart disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity or other chronic health conditions in addition to neurodevelopmental disorders which puts them at higher risk of complications if they get the flu.  Therefore, we encourage persons supported and those who support them to get a flu shot to help protect everyone during the flu season.

Information about where to get immunized is on the Department of Health’s website: http://health.state.tn.us/fluclinic/default.aspx.

Additional information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm.

Provider Billing Improvements:  DIDD is working to improve the billing process for our valued providers.  I have received indications that some of the process improvements are paying off as less time is being spent by provider staff keying in their billing.  DIDD information systems and business services staff strive to improve the ability for our providers to do business with the state.  Please continue to provide feedback on the process, good or bad, to DIDD_Monthly.PRA@tn.gov.  Your opinions and suggestions are valuable to continuing process improvements.

DIDD Billing Discussion:  As many of you are aware, there have been a number of significant changes in the billing process over the past several months.  DIDD will be hosting a web conference for each region to discuss these changes to the billing process.  The purpose of these meetings will be to provide updates on recent changes and their impact to provider agencies and to give providers the opportunity to provide feedback and to discuss any outstanding issues with the new processes.  Meetings will be scheduled on October 23, 25, and 26.  Additional details regarding meeting times and information on how to log into the meeting will be included in next week’s edition.

SIS Training:  Time is running out to sign up for the SIS training to be held in each region the week of October 8.  Please plan to have someone from your agency at this important training.  All trainings are scheduled from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  You can register at the links below:

West Tennessee – Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Jackson-Madison County Public Library
433 E. Lafayette Street
Jackson, TN  38301
West: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Oct2012_SIS_Training_WEST

Middle Tennessee – Wednesday, October 10, 2012
CBDC Campus
275 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Basement Conference Room of One Cannon Way Building
Nashville, TN  37214
Middle: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Oct2012_SIS_Training_MIDDLE

East Tennessee – Thursday, October 11, 2012
L.T. Ross Building
2247 Western Avenue
Knoxville, TN  37921
East: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Oct2012_SIS_Training_EAST

Self Determination Waiver Renewal:  On October 1, 2012, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Bureau of TennCare submitted a waiver renewal application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).  The waiver renewal application is for the Self Determination (SD) Waiver and can be viewed online at http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/provider_agencies/index.shtml.  Click on the header “Waiver Amendments.”  To submit written comments, e-mail Dr. Jeanine C. Miller at DIDD.Policy@tn.gov

Tennessee Alliance of Support Coordinators:  The Tennessee Alliance of Support Coordinators believes that person centered thinking is key to helping people have better lives.  The Linda Maurer Award for Excellence in Support Coordination is designed to recognize Independent Support Coordinators whose diligence, ethical and professional demeanor, and commitment to Person Centered Thinking and Tools is instrumental in helping people get better lives and changing the culture of ISC services in Tennessee.

Thirteen ISCs across the state were nominated for the Linda Maurer ISC Award.  The nominations were made by provider agencies, advocates, a DIDD Regional Transition Coordinator, and ISC agencies.  The 2012 award recipients are Laura Hickman of Community Network Services, East Region; Renee Reed of Community Development Center, Middle Region; and Holly Broadway of Neighborhood Network, West Region.  Please congratulate these ISCs and all the nominees who are demonstrating outstanding use of Person Centered Thinking and Tools with the people they support and their Circles of Support.

clipGreene Valley Event:  It was apple butter making time at Greene Valley’s Briarwood Habilitation Complex.  What better a way to celebrate fall than firing up a big brass kettle and filling it full of apples, sugar, and cinnamon, then stirring with a wooden ladle until it is nice and thick!  The apple cinnamon fragrance carried by a gentle breeze, enticed folks out on a beautiful fall day to participate in an Old Fashioned Harvest Festival.

After the apple butter was jarred and set aside to cool, everyone gathered on the deck to experience a home-cooked meal of soup beans, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, slaw, and a multitude of desserts, all provided by staff.  The Saults Family was on hand to sing some old time gospel favorites which were much appreciated as evidenced by lots of clapping, shouting, and singing along with the hymns.

All the homes on Greene Valley’s campus received a jar of apple butter so folks could taste and enjoy the result of their hard work.