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January 18, 2013

Open Line


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

Resignation:  Dr. Nancy K. Ray, Court Monitor for the Arlington Class, has resigned effective January 15, 2013.  In her resignation, Dr. Ray expressed her appreciation to the provider community for Arlington class members and stated, “Thank you again for all of your help and support and mostly for all you have done to improve services and supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Tennessee.”

Community Visit:  This week, I had the opportunity to meet with students in the Next Steps program at Vanderbilt University.  Dr. Tom Cheetham, Director of Health Services, and Missy Marshall, Director of Communications & External Affairs also accompanied.  Next Steps is a postsecondary program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  During the visit to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC), we met with VKC Director Dr. Elisabeth Dykens; Dr. Tyler Reimschisel, head of the VU Center for Child Development and the LEND Training Program; Dr. Jan Rosemergy, VKC Deputy Director; and Elise McMillan, Co-Director of the VKC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

clipIn addition to spending time with students in Next Steps, we visited Tennessee Disability Pathfinder and TRIAD (Treatment and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders).  The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is a national Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center and a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities whose mission is to facilitate discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families.  Special thanks to everyone at VKC for making it such an enjoyable and informative visit.

QRP Review of GVDC:  Consistent with the Annual System Review Methodology for Developmental Centers Settlement Agreement Sections IV, V, and IX, the Quality Review Panel’s review of Greene Valley Developmental Center will begin Monday, January 28 at 8:30 a.m.  The Exit Conference will take place on Friday, January 31 at 1:30 p.m.

Employment First Update:  The department and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) continue to make strides in our goal to bring integrated and competitive employment opportunities to all persons within our service system who desire to work.  As we’ve discussed often over the course of the last year, DIDD is actively working both individually and collaboratively with many other departments, to provide support and resources to all stakeholders interested in employment options for persons with disabilities.  As we move into the second year of our grant through the Employment First Leadership State Mentoring Program, we have some very exciting times ahead.  Initial meetings with our DIDD provider agency grant partners at the Rochelle Center, Orange Grove Center, and SRVS have already been completed or scheduled.  As we continue to design and implement our targeted technical assistance program across the state, I look forward to hearing your opinions about the challenges we face as well as the success stories from those of you already benefiting from Employment Services.

While I am aware that the process of change requires patience and courage, I continue to be humbled by the life changing testimonials I’ve encountered as we meet with persons and agencies across the state.  Over the course of the coming year, DIDD will further refine our knowledge and skills with the help of Subject Matter Experts from around the country.  The advantages gleaned through this association will be shared with our entire provider community and ultimately assist us in ensuring employment supports are not only a service we offer, but a true expectation for all we serve.

In conjunction with our efforts, I encourage you to visit the link provided below and participate in this survey sponsored by the Tennessee Works program:

http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/kennedy_email/TNWorks/2012/1-4-13TNWorksMessage.html Customer Focused Services:  The Division of Customer Focused Services would like to ask all providers in each region for an opportunity to give a short presentation at one of the provider’s family meetings.  If the provider has a family meeting scheduled and would like one of our staff to address family members about our mission or conflict resolution strategies, please contact Tom O’Brien at 615-517-6088 or Thomas.O’Brien@tn.gov   or Dr. Vickey Coleman at 901-356-6324 or Vickey.Coleman@tn.gov.  

SMART Job Plan Training:   The department was recently assigned a consultant to review job plans for Preferred Service employees.  As a result of this review, additional training on job plans is going to be offered in the near future for all supervisors of Preferred Service employees.  These supervisors will need to carefully review any job plans that they have already prepared and re-do them if needed. 

Please remember that one of the outcomes of every supervisor’s job plan is the creation of job plans for his/her employees that are SMART compliant.

Accreditation Update:  The department continues on the path to become the first service delivery network for people with ID to become accredited.  Currently, DIDD Accreditation staff are continuing the process of becoming certified to conduct Basic Assurances validation reviews.  These reviews are the vehicle whereby CQL|The Council on Quality and Leadership works with provider organizations internationally when considering accreditation. 

We will use these reviews with a sample of providers in 2014 to collect information to become accredited by CQL.  Once DIDD staff receive certification in this process, we will ask providers to volunteer to receive training in this process and the Basic Assurances factors.  We urge every provider to contact your regional accreditation team members or Laura Doutre at Laura.Doutre@tn.gov  to get on the schedule for Basic Assurances training. 

Beginning in March 2013, the DIDD Accreditation team will conduct at least one Personal Outcome Measures workshop per region.  These workshops last for 4 days and are held at provider organizations.  To get on the calendar for one of these workshops, please contact your regional accreditation team.  A calendar of workshop dates will be released within the next month.  The support from the provider community for the department’s accreditation efforts have been very positive.  We appreciate all of the interest and volunteerism thus far and ask that it be continued.  After all, the goal of accreditation is to support Tennesseans who use DIDD services to have better lives.  We know this is a mutual goal of all stakeholders in the system.  The DIDD Accreditation team would like to send a special thank you to Omni Visions of Memphis for volunteering to host a Basic Assurances Review.  We also thank Rochelle Center in Nashville for hosting follow-up training for our Advocate Mentors at the end of January.

clipFirst Annual Patricia Hill Award:  On December 3, Nancy Hunt was presented with the first annual Patricia Hill Award.  This award, given by BGC, Inc., was established in honor of Patricia Hill who served as an ISC for many years in the south central area of Middle Tennessee.  BGC developed the award after Pat’s passing this year to recognize an individual who displays the traits and actions which Pat continually demonstrated herself including kindness, sincerity, integrity, and empathy.  As said by Pat’s husband, Tim, we wanted to recognize “a person who does the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons even when no one is looking.”  Pictured with Nancy are Pat Hill’s family and friends.

MTRO Phone Lines:  This past week, an off campus contractor accidentally severed a phone cable that provided service to the Middle Tennessee Regional Office Stamps Building on the Clover Bottom campus.  After several days, service has been restored, but there continues to be some problems as a result of that accident.  Currently, there is no voice mail capability on the phone system at the Stamps building.  A needed replacement part has been ordered and will be installed as soon as it arrives.  Until then, if anyone is unable to reach an employee in the Stamps building by phone, please contact the CBDC switchboard at 615-231-5000 and the operator will assist in getting word to the staff person you are attempting to call.

Housing Inspections:  As a result of our move to the Frost Building in December, our ability to send and receive faxes has been negatively altered.  Effective immediately, agencies needing a Housing Inspection should email their requests to Betty Chester at Betty.Chester@tn.gov.

Select Community:  Select Community (aka VSHP) is a Nurse Care Management program for persons with intellectual disabilities receiving services through the waiver and is offered through TennCare Select.  Their role is to provide Care Management coordination and continuity of care of physical and behavioral health covered services and considered an added layer of service provided to the person supported and their circle of support.  The Nurse Care Manager strives to maximize the member’s fullest potential by addressing all of his/her developmental, physical, and behavioral needs with the person’s quality of life as their primary concern.  For more information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit:


clipLearning Tree:  There is something new at Greene Valley, and it is all about having fun and learning a little something at the same time.  It is called the Learning Tree.  It is an area that was developed for the people living in Rosewood and Pinewood, simply to provide different surroundings and to be able to spend time with new friends, along with their direct support staff.  Having this option available is very important because health issues frequently limit away-from-home time for these persons.  The need for additional training opportunities was also obvious due to the space required to accommodate all of the adaptive equipment and having their previous out-of-home area renovated to house the Medical Treatment Unit, which was a significant improvement for the facility, but a loss to this group of persons.  After much discussion and many hours of planning, the large 1st floor Medical Conference Room was transformed into the Learning Tree, and then the fun began.

Management and other non-direct support staff have volunteered to assist in the Learning Tree.  Spending a couple of hours once or twice a month with persons in the program is bringing staff back to their roots, so to speak.  Comments from the non-direct support staff were very encouraging, and they enjoyed their time with persons involved in the Learning Tree.  Discussion during the sessions have ranged from the various holidays, the election process, serious subjects such as Pearl Harbor and D-Day, to the Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schultz.  Last week, the study was about Elvis Presley.  Materials for arts and crafts are available, and the current project is making snowmen out of baby socks for the Snowman Tree in the Learning Tree.  Morning sessions are currently being held and future plans include development of afternoon sessions.