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May 24, 2013

Open Line


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

Provider Rate Increase: Myself and members of the DIDD staff were pleased to work with the General Assembly during this past legislative session on a state budget that included funds to meet the needs of persons with intellectual disabilities while accepting the fact of limited state tax revenues.  Hard work by providers and especially leadership from Senator Randy McNally, Representative Charles Sargent, and Senator Mark Norris, succeeded in gaining a $2,000,000 appropriation of recurring state funding, to be matched with $3,694,500 in federal funding, for a rate increase for community providers. 

The language of this legislative amendment (Section 76, Item 20 of Public Chapter 463 -click here) to the budget reads as follows:

“In addition to any other funds appropriated by the provisions of this act, there is appropriated the sum of $2,000,000 (recurring) to the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, to be used for increasing the rate of reimbursement paid to community providers of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

I intend to execute a 0.90 percent across-the-board rate increase for direct services provided by DIDD community provider agencies.  Services eligible for this across-the-board increase in reimbursement rates include: Day, Residential, Personal Assistance, Hospital Attendant, Respite, Individual Transportation, Nursing, Behavior, Therapy and ISC services.

Again, I would not have been in the position to announce increasing these reimbursement rates starting in fiscal year 2013-2014 without the hard work and advocacy from our supporters in the community of care for people with intellectual disabilities.  You should be proud of the work you did to gain this additional funding given continued economic concerns, low state tax revenue growth, and the federal government’s budget sequestration.  Finally, I appreciate the suggestions I have received on this rate increase issue from many who care about strengthening the network of support for the people we serve.

Lynn’s Law:  On Tuesday, Governor Bill Haslam held a ceremonial bill signing in Caryville for “Lynn’s Law” (HB 531/SB 675).  I attended and offered a few remarks. Most Tennesseans will remember that this legislation stemmed from the nationwide news story of Lynn Cameron, 19 years old, who was driven by her mother from Illinois and abandoned at a small bar in Caryville.   The bill makes it illegal for a person who has assumed responsibility for and is knowledgeable of another’s inability to care for him or herself to abandon that person. Thanks to Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) and Representative Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) for sponsoring the bill.

clipCommunity Visit:  This week, my wife Pat and Susan Moss, Deputy Director of Constituent Services, visited with Robin Wilmoth, Director of IOI-Cookeville and her staff. One person supported by IOI took them to her place of employment and showed what she did for her job and also introduced them to her bosses. Next, Susan and Pat were taken to one of their homes where they visited with persons living there. One gentleman told them he wanted a bigger TV and by that, he meant about an 80” TV. It was a delightful visit and we thank Robin, IOI staff, and their friends for their hospitality.

Clarification on Waiver Roll-Out Meetings:  Last week, the department announced a series of roll-out meetings will be held in each region on the three new Waiver services of Semi-Independent Supported Living, Intensive Behavioral Residential Services, and In-Home Day Services.  We realize some confusion arose as to exact meeting locations and apologize for the oversight. Dates and times are listed below with the venues bolded:




June 5, 2013
Clover Bottom Developmental Center
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
275 Stewart’s Ferry Pike
One Cannon Way Basement
Nashville, TN 37214

June 6, 2013
L.T. Ross Building
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2247 Western Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37921

June 7, 2013
STAR Center
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
1119 Old Humboldt Rd.
Jackson, TN 38305


Job Club:  Do your people have the support needed to obtain and maintain a job? Have you ever thought about creating a support group where their job needs and desires could be heard? If so, you might want to consider creating a Job Club at your agency.

Job Club is a small therapeutic support group where participants are able to share their successes and challenges on the job or with their respective employment search. Group members will assist each other in providing problem solving strategies for members that are experiencing challenges on the job.  The group should consist of no more than 10 participants and typically last anywhere from 30-45 minutes. Two individuals can co-facilitate the group at the same time or rotate conducting sessions. The key is providing consistency for participants so all group members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

For ideas or questions on starting a Job Club, please contact Amy Gonzalez, State Director of Employment and Day Services, at Amy.Gonzalez@tn.gov.

Community of Practice:  In last week’s edition, we announced that DIDD and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities (TNCDD) were recently awarded a grant from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) to become involved in a five-state community of practice to learn more about best practices regarding supporting families. To learn more about the community of practice, please click here.

DIDD Training Update: We are pleased to share that over 60 agencies have completed the bulk download process and are working in the Essential Learning web training platform.  Due to tornadoes in Missouri, we had to cancel a webinar this week, but have three scheduled for next week.  Join us for general information and questions and answers on “What’s Next,” a one hour webinar. Below, are dates and times:

Tuesday, May 28:  9:00 a.m. Central (10 a.m. Eastern)
Wednesday, May 29: 9:00 a.m. Central (10:00 a.m. Eastern)
Thursday, May 30: 2:00 p.m. Central (3:00 p.m. Eastern)

A new training tab has been added to the DIDD internet web site with FAQ’s, links to video training, templates and forms, crosswalks, and much more. Click here to view the site.

New Employee:  We would like to welcome Jerry C. Jones to DIDD.  Jerry is a new employee in the Central Office Human Resources division and will be handling classification/compensation issues for the department. Mr. Jones can be contacted at Jerry.C.Jones@tn.gov.