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October 12, 2012

Open Line

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

Jackson Family Roundtable:  On Monday, I met with families and conservators of persons supported in Jackson.  The Family Roundtable Gathering lasted approximately two hours.  I began by telling families about my background and experience.  Then, families were asked questions and shared their concerns.  After listening to the families, I asked, “What would you do if you were Commissioner?”  I received some candid responses.  A couple of families expressed that adding more quality providers in non-metro areas and looking at ways that persons supported or their families do not have to pay furniture, repairs, etc., due to limited funds would be helpful.  Prior to ending the gathering, I discussed budgetary concerns as well as my vision for the direction of the department.  I encouraged families to call me if or when they do not receive a response from anyone within the department.  The meeting offered a wealth of feedback and I enjoyed time spent with the families.

clip Community Visit:  On Tuesday, I toured the Helen Tucker Center in Ripley and had an opportunity to visit with persons supported.  During the visit, I was joined by Representative Craig Fitzhugh, Lauderdale County Mayor Rod Schulh, and Ripley City Mayor John Pavletic as well as several parents and HTC board members.  I was very encouraged by the amount of community support the center receives.  A gentleman named John G., treated us to his rendition of “We are the World” and I was honored to receive a wreath made by persons at the center.  John is pictured with me on the right.  Special thanks to Executive Director Martha Drumwright and her staff for arranging the day’s events and making it such a pleasant experience. 

clipTipton County Adult Developmental Center:  I recently learned that Mr. Bill Franklin, a resident of Tipton County, has led efforts to raise approximately $400,000.00 to construct a new building for the Tipton County Adult Developmental Center, operated by the Helen Tucker Center.  For the past 26 years, persons who utilize the center’s services have been meeting in the former Owen School Building located on Highway 59W.  Mr. Franklin established a building fund and is educating and encouraging citizens to support and contribute to the fund.  Mr. Franklin invited me to tour the center and visit with persons who benefit from their services.  Mr. Franklin, his wife, and their son Sam, are pictured with me to the right.  Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Tipton County Mayor Jeff Huffman also joined in the afternoon’s events.  It was a great visit. 

News Channel 5 reporter Justin Hanson provided coverage and the complete story can be viewed at:


Loaned Executive Program:  Dates have been finalized for the Loaned Executive Program for October-December 2012.  Invitations were extended and 16 responses were received.  Due to the large number of providers interested, we are unable to accept further participants.  Thanks to everyone who expressed their interest in this endeavor.  The following providers are scheduled to participate:

October 23-25: Betty McNeely (Journeys in Community Living)
December 3-5: Don Redden (Developmental Services of Dickson County)

We will schedule the remaining 14 providers in the coming months.

Employment:  The department is interested in stories about persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are employed in the community.  Until November 14, please send your submissions to julie.huber@tn.gov.  After then, please email your stories to your DIDD Regional Employment and Day Coordinator.

This week, we’d like to share the story of Corey Buford who works at Fred Page High School.  His perseverance speaks to the power of determination, family, and coming together to find what works.  His experience also highlights how critical it is to ensure that a person’s talents and interests drive the job search process.  Corey’s journey also speaks to the power of parents.  We thank the Disability Law & Advocacy Center (DLAC) of Tennessee for allowing us to link to the story they wrote about his success.  Click here to learn more: http://www.dlactn.org/news-events/61-latest-news/113-employment-corey.html.

Ethical Practices Reminder:  It was recently brought to my attention there may be agencies that have instructed staff members as well as persons supported not to communicate with members of the Circle of Support (e.g., behavior analysts, independent support coordinators, advocates, case managers, etc.) about their concerns relative to agencies’ practices, particularly those that are restrictive in nature.  This is an unacceptable practice.  There should be no restrictions on persons supported and staff members communication with the Circle of Support. 

Also, as a reminder, any written policies that restrict a person’s rights, must go through the Human Rights Committee prior to implementation.

Social Media Responsibility: DIDD employees are reminded that they are prohibited from using department equipment to engage in the use of social media (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) while on duty.  In addition, it is vitally important that all employees exercise sound judgment when using social media.  Employees are reminded that as state employees, their behavior is reflective of the department and administration in general, even when using personal time.  Employees should consider, whether the personal opinions they publish in personal venues may be misunderstood as expressing the department’s or the administration’s opinions.  Employees should have no expectation of privacy of anything published in any social media venue.  Employees are advised to familiarize themselves with departmental policy, 50.2.1 Social Media.

An Ounce of Prevention:  In the May 4, 2012 edition, providers were reminded that the time frame associated with Individual Transportation Services must be documented and also fall within the time frame of the Personal Assistance provided.  This week, the focus is on the importance of documenting time frames when Community Based Day Service (CB Day) is billed.  The expectation is that a person who receives Day Services will receive six hours of such services for each day billed and that day service outcomes specified in the person’s ISP will be addressed via documentation in daily notes.  However, the per diem may be billed if day service outcomes were addressed for at least 2 hours and there is documentation in daily notes that the person was unable to complete the full six hours for reasons beyond the control of the provider.  A clarification memo with further details is forthcoming.

Plans of Correction:  There has been a change to the email addresses that providers use to submit Plans of Correction following an investigation.  The new email addresses are: DIDDINVPOC.East@tn.gov, DIDDINVPOC.Middle@tn.gov, and DIDDINVPOC.West@tn.gov.  This email is effective immediately and should be used when submitting a Plan of Correction for addressing a substantiated investigation.

DIDD Billing Discussion: As mentioned in last week’s edition of Open Line, DIDD will be hosting a web conference to discuss changes in the billing processes that have occurred over the past several months.  The purpose of these meetings will be to share information on recent and upcoming enhancements to the billing process, and to allow providers to share feedback and discuss any outstanding issues.  The meeting details are included below, and a meeting agenda will be sent out in next week’s Open Line update.  Due to limits on the number of participants, we have broken these meetings up by region. 



TIME (Central Time Zone)



9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

East Region


9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Middle Region


12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

West Region

NOTE: In order to attend the web conference, participants will need an internet connection and a computer equipped with either internal or external speakers.
Instructions for Joining the Web Conference:

To join the meeting, participants should enter the link below in their web browser:

Select the option to enter as guest, type in your agency’s name, and click on the option to enter the meeting room.

You may be prompted to install an Adobe Connect Add-In, which may take a few minutes to download and install.  You may also need to temporarily disable your pop-up blocker.

If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before, you can test your connection before the meeting using the link below:


Freedom of Choice Form Update:
  Effective October 1, 2012 the Freedom of Choice forms for both the Self-Determination and Statewide Waivers have been updated to reflect current and accurate terminology.  The updated forms have also been forwarded to Intake Directors and ISC agencies statewide for immediate implementation.  All parties are requested to destroy old copies of this form and begin using the updated templates effective immediately.  Below, are direct links to the forms:



Personal Outcome Measures:  This week’s personal outcome measure focuses on People Are Respecte.  The key issue is people are treated in the same manner as others.  To have this outcome present, we should ensure:

  • Interactions that promote respect do not draw undue attention to a person’s disability or differences
  • The person’s options and preferences are honored
  • The person’s capabilities are stressed
  • Expectations for achievement are high
  • Service supports are not intrusive or demeaning

Correction on Self-Advocate Mentor Training: Last week, it was announced Nancy Fellows completed this training.  Her correct name is Nancy Everette.  We regret the error.

Provider Agreement Clarification:  Questions arise from time to time concerning the requirement in section A. 10 D. of the current Provider Agreement and in section D. 15 of a DIDD grant contract which states that if receiving $500,000 or more in aggregate state and federal funds providers or grantees shall undergo, at their expense, an annual independent audit of financial records in accordance with the requirements of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

A recipient whose DIDD funding includes federal dollars (e.g., waiver payments) would be subject to an audit pursuant to Section A-133 of the federal audit OMB Circular; however, if DIDD funding consists only of state dollars, the recipient of over this threshold amount is subject to an audit that follows the provisions of Government Auditing Standards (GAS).  Further information on this issue can be found in Section A, E and G of the Audit Manual for Governmental Units and Recipients of Grant Funds, published by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury and found on the Comptroller’s website.

Transitions Between Regions/ISC Agency Changes and DHS Notification:  For any transition involving a person moving between regions, the sending and receiving ISC each need to submit a 2350 form to the appropriate DIDD/DHS Counselor in the sending region.  Copies or scans of the 2350s also need to be provided to the Transition Unit in the sending region.  They should not be submitted to local DHS offices.  DIDD must assure that eligibility and benefit issues are resolved for persons who are crossing regional boundaries within the state.  As needed, Regional Transition Units can provide information as to how to contact the appropriate DIDD/DHS Counselor.

This process also needs to be completed any time there is a change in ISC agencies supporting a person.  Both ISC agencies (sending and receiving) need to submit 2350s to the DIDD/DHS Counselor in the person’s district, and should also provide that documentation to the Transition Unit.

DIDD/DHS notification should not occur for temporary moves across regions (such as when a person moves into a behavioral respite program for 30 or 60 days). 

Insurance Changes for State Employees:  If you are making changes or additions to your state insurance benefits and/or Flexible Medical/Dependent Dare Care accounts during the current Annual Enrollment/Transfer Period, please remember that they must be submitted through Edison Employee Self Service.  After you enter your changes/additions, you should be given an opportunity to either print a confirmation from Edison or receive one through e-mail.  If you are not prompted about the confirmation, your changes/additions were probably not saved in Edison and will not be implemented.  Please contact HR for assistance if you are not prompted about the confirmation.  The Annual Enrollment/Transfer Period will end on November 1. 

Elaine’s Walk:  There was a great turnout at the sponsored one-mile walk hosted by MillarRich in September.  Over $5,000 was raised for Ovarian Cancer research and MillarRich wishes to express their appreciation to everyone who attended.

Greene Valley Event:  National Poetry Day was the subject during last week’s campus wide activity day in the Briarwood Habilitation Complex at Greene Valley.  Nellie Shelton, active treatment coordinator for Briarwood, explained that poetry doesn’t always rhyme, it is a means of putting thoughts on paper, and that it doesn’t always make sense.  Folks in attendance decided that Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” is just too macabre for their taste, poems about lost love are just too serious, and poems about the origins of life are too intense.  From the reaction of the group, humorous poems are their favorite.  In fact, if laughter is good for the soul, then everyone received a big dose of it.  Several staff entertained the group with witty stories paralleling the poems that were read.  National Poetry Day in Briarwood became National Laughter Day and it was definitely a good time for all.     

Focus Groups:  This month’s meetings will occur from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided and everyone is welcome.  Dates and locations are listed below:

  • October 16, Nashville: The focus will be on employment and several participants will share their job skills and ideas (Clover Bottom Developmental Center, One Cannon Way basement).
  • October 18, Memphis: The focus will be the promotion of self-advocacy principles (SRVS, 3971 Knight Arnold Road, across the street from Delta Medical Center).