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November 30, 2012

Open Line


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

clipMiddle Tennessee Community Homes (MTCH):  On November 19, I had the opportunity to celebrate the groundbreaking for the construction of the Middle Tennessee Community Homes with staff and persons currently living at Clover Bottom who will reside in the homes.  This first phase of construction in Middle Tennessee consists of four homes located in Hermitage and is scheduled to be completed by October 2013.  Four persons will live in each home and everyone will have his or her own bedroom.  The homes are designed with an open floor plan and will have a total living space of 2,800 square feet.

West Tennessee Community Homes (WTCH):  Congratulations to WTCH on their recent performance status for the State West TN Community Homes ICF/DD 2012 Community Status Review.  Dr. Nancy Ray, Arlington Court Monitor, noted the program performed extremely well on the review.  The final score of "30" included "excellent" ratings in 13 of the 18 domains and "substantial compliance" ratings in four additional domains.  This is the highest score (by some measure) that has ever been achieved by an ICF/DD program on a Community Status Review.
Clearly, this performance speaks to the exceptional talent and dedication of all professionals involved with the West Tennessee Community Homes.  Thank you for consistently ensuring persons supported have the best quality of life possible.

Direct Support Professional Shadowing:  Last fall, all DIDD employees spent approximately four hours each shadowing a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in the community.  The department recognizes that DSPs have a very important job that can be challenging, but also rewarding.  I implemented this program because I want all DIDD staff to see firsthand what DSPs do on a daily basis and allow them an opportunity to spend time with the people we serve.

Following the overwhelming positive response to the experience from both staff and the provider community, I am requiring all DIDD staff to complete this endeavor again, or for the first time for new employees, by February 28, 2013.

Provider Community: Please let us know if you are willing to host DIDD team members by contacting Margaret Donald at Margaret.P.Donald@tn.gov.  We will share the list of volunteering agencies in Open Line in a few weeks.

DIDD Staff:  You are responsible for making contact with a provider in your area to make the arrangements for your “shift.”  Margaret will be overseeing that all staff complete this assignment, so please e-mail her at the address above when you have your shift completed to inform her of which provider you worked with and the date, or earlier if you have any questions.

Licensure Update:  The department’s assumption of licensure responsibilities is almost complete.  As noted in the September 28 edition, licenses expiring December 31, 2012 and January 31, 2013 will be given a status of “extended,” indicating that the license is current and in effect.  I am pleased to note the invoice letters for this group of providers have been sent and that DIDD is on track to issue these licenses in early 2013 as planned (with an effective date retroactive to the original Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) licensure period).  This group of providers received a letter from Commissioner Varney and myself with their invoice packet.  A copy of the letter can be viewed at:



I would also like to let you know that invoice letters for the licenses expiring February 28, 2013 and March 31, 2013 are on track to be sent before the Christmas holidays.  As always, 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.

Accreditation Update:  Congratulations to Amber Perry, Kelly Bradley-Owens, Allison Adkinson, and Courtney Kelly for successfully completing the certification process required by CQL in order to become Personal Outcome Measures Workshop facilitators.  Also, congratulations to Dana Scott for completing the process to become a Personal Outcome Measures Inter Rater Reliable Interviewer.  All DIDD staff on the Accreditation Team, as well as Quality Management staff and Person Centered Practices staff are now certified in the Personal Outcome Measures work as outlined in the accreditation work plan.  This work has been going on since September and many providers have been involved as training sites in order to make this a success.

Additionally, DIDD has now entered into the process of supporting 12 DIDD employees in becoming certified in Basic Assurances Reviews.  This certification work will wrap-up in February 2013.  Again, sincere thanks to the providers who have been willing to participate in the Basic Assurances Process.

The statewide Accreditation Advisory Council met for the first time on November 14, 2012.  The group discussed their charge and how to support DIDD in becoming accredited.  The council recommended that regional advisory councils be organized.  This work will begin in the new year.

Last, DIDD would like to thank RHA for partnering with us in our accreditation efforts by volunteering to be the first provider to host a Basic Assurances Review.  It was a very busy week and RHA was on top of all the coordination and focus groups they were responsible for managing.  We look forward to continuing accreditation efforts with other great providers in Tennessee.

West Region Director of Nursing:  I am pleased to announce Kim Gibson has been appointed as the Director of Nursing Services for the West region.  Kim brings more than 17 years of health and leadership experience, with 11 years dedicated to the IDD field.  Kim holds a degree in Nursing and Business Management and is a welcome addition to our team.

Personal Outcome Measure:  This week’s Personal Outcome Measure focuses on People Decide When to Share Personal Information.  The key issue for persons supported is that information is not made public or shared with others without the person’s direct consent.  This outcome entails the following:

  • All information about a person is considered confidential
  • Includes written or verbal information
  • Even with permission, organizations should share only

          the information that is relevant to services or required to
          support the person

The person’s perspective on the importance of information to be shared is considered in evaluating the presence of this outcome.

Policies:  The department has two new ICF/IID policies available for viewing at the following link:


1) Staff Development (100.1.15)
2) Leave and Attendance (100.1.16)

S.M.A.R.T. Job Plans:  One of Governor Haslam’s initiatives is for state employees to have S.M.A.R.T. job plans.  To help with this initiative, the Department of Human Resources has assigned Dr. Barbara Hessel as a consultant for the department.  Dr. Hessel will be conducting workshops for preferred service managers and supervisors to assist in making the job plans for employees “smarter.”  Dr. Hessel will be holding workshops for management in all regions.  She held the first workshop in the Middle Tennessee Region on November 28 and will be working with management to set up workshops at Greene Valley Developmental Center, the East Tennessee Regional Office, the West Tennessee Region, and Central Office during the next two months.

Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) Training:  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from the SIS training held in October are now available for viewing at:


clipEmployee Accomplishment:  Congratulations to Perry Falcon who won the Grand Prize in a calendar contest sponsored by the Department of General Services Printing & Media Services Division.  Perry’s photo depicting a Rock City rustic barn was selected as the calendar cover and is pictured on the right.  His other photo, Mirage of Cypress Trees, was also selected for a page inside the calendar.