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February 15, 2013

Open Line

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

DIDD Human Resources Director:  Karen Haynes, the department’s current Human Resources Director, announced her plans to retire from state service in October 2012. Over the past few months, DIDD has enacted the search for a replacement and been successful. Effective February 25, Sherrie Artman will be joining the DIDD Senior Management Team as the Human Resources Director.  Ms. Artman has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Master of Health Administration from Central Michigan University and is currently working toward her Doctorate of Healthcare Administration.  Ms. Artman most recently held the classification of Vice President of Human Resources for Behavioral Centers of America.  During a several week transition phrase, Karen will work with Sherrie before she officially retires from DIDD and state service.

Tennessee Employment Consortium (TEC):  I encourage all persons supporting employment services across the state to attend our quarterly Statewide TEC meeting on March 1, 2013.  The meeting will be held at the Santa Fe Cattle Company in the Opry Mills area from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Topics of discussion will include updates of our EFLSMP Grant activities, Employment Data Collection efforts and open discussion on the direction of our Employment First initiative.  Attached, is the agenda.  This forum will also give stakeholders from across the state an opportunity to engage in open dialog that will help us shape our efforts towards employment services in the days to come.

Harmonious Work Environment:  In the January 25 edition, an article was included concerning manager and supervisors responsibilities in reporting any incident that falls under Workplace Harassment.  Departmental policy requires that all DIDD employees assume responsibility for maintaining a work environment free from any offensive or harassing conduct.  Any DIDD employee who believes he or she has been the subject of, or has witnessed, an incident of offensive or harassing conduct has an obligation to report the matter promptly to their supervisor; Lisa Kent, (615) 253-6746, DIDD Employee Relations Officer; or Brenda Clark, (615) 231-5516, DIDD Director of Office of Civil Rights.  The Intake/Referral Form is available on DIDD’s website at http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/civil_rights/1-Intake%20or%20Referral%20form.doc.

East Planning and Policy Council (EPPC) Vacancies:  The EPPC has two unexpected vacant seats.  We are looking for individuals who represent either 1) a provider of services to persons with an intellectual or developmental disability or 2) an organization affected by intellectual or developmental disability issues.

The interest form is available at: http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/newsroom/announcements/Interest%20Form%20for%20PPC%20vacancy.docx

Please submit it to Diana Davis at Diana.Davis@tn.gov  if you are interested by March 8, 2013.  The Council meets in Knoxville quarterly, with the next meeting set for April 11, 2013.  Information about the Council is on our website under the link “DIDD Planning and Policy Councils” on the main page if you would like to learn more.  I appreciate all those who are willing to volunteer their time.

Transition NOW Update:  As the department continues to ensure that all stakeholders within our system are kept informed of the changes that occur internally, I wanted to inform you that recently the At Risk Team was restructured into two different groups. One team is the Transition NOW Team (TNT).  The TNT will continue to focus on class members residing in nursing homes across West Tennessee.  One of their core responsibilities includes educating families and/or conservators relative to community placements of class members.  Informed choice serves as the foundation of these educational efforts.  Another important responsibility of the TNT members is to conduct quality care reviews of the supports and services of each class member and offer recommendations for quality improvement as needed.  This team handles all transitions of class members residing in nursing homes as well as private ICF/ID facilities.

The members of the Transition NOW Team are: Dr. Vickey Coleman, Transition NOW Coordinator; Janice Williams, Transition NOW Supervisor; Shelley Maness, Transition NOW Facilitator; Trezette Howze, Transition NOW Facilitator; Elizabeth Velazquez, Transition NOW Facilitator; Tanya Hardy, Transition NOW Facilitator; and Patricia Bernero, Administrative Assistant for the team.

Currently, there are 93 class members residing in nursing homes.  If there are provider agencies interested in providing community-based services to this population or have vacancies, please contact Janice Williams at Janice.Williams@tn.gov (901-745-7315) or Vickey Coleman at Vickey.Coleman@tn.gov  (901-356-6324).

The Transition NOW Team would like to thank providers that have already assisted with placement of class members in the community. 

Basic Assurances Reviews:  Congratulations to Kimerly Brown, Tina Taylor, Allison Adkison, Ben Turnage and Jennifer Aldrich for completing the work required and earning certification from the Council on Quality and Leadership to conduct Basic Assurances review validations.  I know this took a lot of hard work to accomplish.

Person Centered Thinking:  I wanted to offer some clarification regarding the Person Centered Thinking two day training challenge survey.  The purpose of the survey is to assist DIDD in determining the effectiveness of the training and to learn how DIDD can better support you to meet this challenge.  Several organizations have already completed the survey and my staff are finding the information to be very valuable as we move forward in planning the future for DIDD.  We realize that 100% is a high goal, but I encourage you to continue to meet this challenge.  If you have questions, please contact Courtney Kelly at Courtney.Kelly@tn.gov.  The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PCT_Provider.

An Ounce of Prevention:  This week’s topic covers Room and Board fees associated with Respite services (not Behavioral Respite).  Per requirements of the waiver amendments (effective January 01, 2013), such room and board fees are not allowable.  If you have questions, the waiver amendments are available for review on the DIDD website at  http://www.tn.gov/didd/vault/provider_agencies/index.shtml  or you can contact Dr. Jeanine Miller, Director of Policy,  at 615-253-8370 or Jeanine.C.Miller@tn.gov.

Clover Bottom Cemetery:  The department recently employed the services of Dan S. Allen, archeologist, to conduct an archaeological survey of the Clover Bottom Cemetery to determine specific locations of graves and boundaries of the cemetery.  It was determined to contain a minimum of 185 burials arranged in 5 rows.  Mr. Allen recorded his survey results with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – Archeology Division.  The cemetery is recorded as the Clover Bottom Developmental Center (CBDC) Cemetery with a site number of 40DV656.  I was glad to find out that previous development did not encroach on any of the graves.  It is my intent to construct a distinguished boundary and markers for the graves to preserve its history.

Project Titan Regional Kick-Off Meetings:  As many of you are aware, the department is currently engaged in a project effort to replace its existing computer information systems with a single integrated database solution.  Project Titan will focus on three critical business areas within the department: Service Planning, Service Tracking and Billing, and Protection from Harm.  DIDD plans to host Regional Kickoff Meetings to share information related to this project with both our regional staff and community providers.  Information regarding meetings with the Regional Office staff will be sent from the Regional Office Directors early next week.  The schedule for meetings with the regional providers will be as follows:






1:00 PM –3:00 PM (CT)

West Region

Arlington Campus – Baker Building Auditorium


2:00 PM –4:00 PM (CT)

Middle Region

Clover Bottom Campus – 1 Cannon Way Conference Room


1:00 PM –3:00 PM (ET)

East Region

Knoxville, TN – L.T. Ross Building

We will provide additional information regarding these meetings over the upcoming weeks.  If you have any questions regarding these meetings, feel free to contact our Project Team by email at DIDD.Titan@tn.gov.

Policy Exemptions:  The Exemption Request Form has now been updated and posted on the DIDD website here.   


Please note this form must be completed in its entirety and submitted electronically to the Regional Director.  Incomplete or incorrect forms will be returned to providers.  Please ensure the exemption request is detailed and dates are clearly specified for when the exemption is to begin and end.  Your regional points of contact for exemption submissions are:  Sondra Everett (Middle) at Sondra.Everett@tn.gov, Brenda Carroll (West) at Brenda.Carroll@tn.gov, and Marla Stair-Wood (East) at Marla.Stair-Wood@tn.gov.