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November 16, 2012

Open Line

This edition of Open Line includes information I want to share with you:

Position Announcement:  The department is currently seeking a Director of Project Management in Central Office.  Interested candidates should be customer-service oriented, able to manage multiple projects in a timely manner, possess excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills, project management skills, organized, and flexible in their work schedule.  Please send resumes to Karen Haynes, DIDD Director of Human Resources, at Karen.Haynes@tn.gov.  For a complete list of job qualifications, please visit http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/newsroom/announcements/DirProjectManagement.shtml.

NASDDDS Annual Conference: This week I attended the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. With efforts to control the future cost of Medicaid and Medicare growing, state agencies must find new ways to effectively provide person-centered services to those we serve. I look forward to sharing what I learned with my staff and keeping them mindful that despite possible changes, we must never lose focus on the people we serve and their families.

Middle Region Director of Intake:  I am pleased to announce that Pat Rees has been appointed as the Director of Intake and Case Management for the Middle Tennessee Regional Office.  Ms. Rees brings 34 years of service to state government in the Middle region.  She is most proud of the position she held in 2010 as an active member of the team that facilitated the move of the final persons supported at Arlington Developmental Center in West Tennessee.  Additionally, Ms. Rees is presently in the dissertation phase of a doctoral program, which she plans to complete within the next year.  Please join me in welcoming Pat into her new role.

Governor Haslam’s Budget Hearings: On Tuesday, Governor Haslam concluded two weeks of public budget hearings with executive branch agencies of government on development of the fiscal year 2013-2014 state budget.  The Governor began each day of hearings with an announcement that the budget hearings presented state agencies the opportunity to reveal what a 5% reduction in state funding “would look like” but “it does not mean those cuts will happen.”  He made special emphasis at the beginning of the DIDD hearing on November 8 that this announcement was  probably most important to be made by him and heard by the public given the vulnerable persons served by DIDD.

While state tax revenue collection continues modest growth, both federal tax and spending changes and global economic growth challenges exist which could further slow state tax revenue growth in the months ahead.  In addition, these hearings revealed a significant amount of demand for new funding that would come from any state tax revenue growth.  Therefore, some reductions to existing state programs may be required. 

My staff and I will continue to work with the Governor and his team on this budget development process.  I expect to get more information on state tax revenue projection in December during the meeting of the State Funding Board and I will communicate information on this budget process when appropriate.

The video archive of the Governor’s budget hearings can be viewed at: http://nowuseeit.state.tn.us/mediasite5/Catalog/pages/catalog.aspx?catalogId=689c9469-0a03-44b1-92fc-b105724a9d9f.

Enhancements to Provider Claims Processing (PCP):  Tuesday morning, 11/20/2012, DIDD will release an update to the Provider Claims Processing Portal (PCP). This release will include two noticeable changes. The first will be a Sweep Date indicator, which was discussed during our recent Provider Billing Discussions. In the Current Period, if a previously entered claim has been swept up for payment, that Sweep Date will appear next to it. It will only affect claims where a billable number of units have been entered. This should help eliminate confusion over whether or not a claim has been swept for payment, or is still available to be edited. If there is no date next to it, it hasn’t been swept yet and can be entered or corrected if needed. This Sweep Date will not be shown in the Late Bill and Adjustment Period. It will only show in the Current Period.

The second change is related. In the Current Period, if a previously entered claim has been swept for payment as indicated with a Sweep Date indicator next to it, it cannot be edited again while it is in the Current Period. Once it appears in the Late Bill and Adjustment Period it can be adjusted.

We hope these changes, along with more to come in the future, continue to improve and enhance the PCP experience.

Discovery:  Providers have to be creative in structuring effective outcomes which lead to meaningful Facility-Based Day Services.  Discovery is achieved in Facility-Based Day Services when documentation demonstrates the person’s week encompassed meaningful and measurable activities such as:

  • The person is provided with experiences and information about activities that coincide with their interests.
  • The person spends time exploring the interests that they have identified.
  • The person’s time in Discovery has led to an interest in pursuing employment.
  • The person’s time in Discovery has led to an interest in pursuing volunteer opportunities.
  • The person has developed hobbies or interests as a result of Discovery.
  • The person’s time in Discovery has led to them becoming an active member of their community (examples are being a member of a garden club, neighborhood organization, local gym, etc.)
  • The person is taking a class in the community to learn a new skill.


Revision of Quality Assurance Survey Tools for 2013:  Each year, the tools used to review provider performance are updated to reflect any changes in requirements that have been made during the previous year.  Our situation for 2013 is somewhat unique in that we are planning to issue a new edition of the Provider Manual later in 2013.  Because of this, changes to our survey tools will be deferred so that they can be made to coincide with the issuance of the new manual.  Should you have questions about this process, please contact Pat Nichols, Assistant Commissioner for Quality Management, at Pat.Nichols@tn.gov or 615-532-6548.

National Family Caregivers Month:  In case you are not aware, I want to remind you that November is National Family Caregivers month.  Caring for aging parents and resuming care for children returning home as wounded warriors are only two of the roles family caregivers find themselves carrying out.  As we know, many persons who have intellectual or developmental disabilities live at home with the support of families.  Therefore it is appropriate, to quote from the proclamation, “to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day” in performing their difficult work.

clipMock Safety Drill:  On November 14, an unannounced mock safety drill was performed at our three community homes located on Buckingham Road in Greeneville, TN.  This was the first of such drills for our Community Home Program.  Involved in the drill, were the Greene County Emergency Management Services, the Tusculum Volunteer Fire Department, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department along with their Bomb Squad, and the County Ambulance Service.  I am pleased to announce the drill was a great success.  Our department has learned a great deal of information which will be valuable as we near the start of our Middle Tennessee Community Home program.  I would like to congratulate the East Tennessee Regional Office, the East Tennessee Community Homes Program Director, Margi Story, the Home Managers and their employees, along with Tim Moody, Safety Officer and Randy Weems, Maintenance Supervisor at Greene Valley, for a job well done.


Please Note:  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Open Line will not be released next Friday.  Enjoy this time with your loved ones.