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May 31, 2013

Open Line


In my last week as DIDD Commissioner, I wanted to take this opportunity to address our dedicated employees, providers, advocates and persons we support.  Although this is my last edition of Open Line, its dissemination will now occur under the leadership and direction of Debbie Payne.


Open Line has become an essential method of communication since its inception in September 2011.  Its primary purpose is to ensure ongoing communication among our various partners, as well as apprise the DIDD community of pertinent issues that may impact them.  Judging from the feedback I’ve received from many of you, Open Line has been a great success.  This would not have been possible without your support or input.


I am grateful and humbled to have served as the department’s first Commissioner.  As I assume my permanent appointment as the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) Commissioner, I will not forget the lasting relationships formed or what I have learned during my tenure here.  It has truly been a privilege to work with all of you.


On a final note, the department is fortunate to have someone of Debbie’s caliber lead the charge to provide quality services to Tennessee’s most vulnerable persons.  Above all, there is no doubt DIDD will continue to move forward as a nationwide leader in its service delivery system.
Below, are important items I want to share for this week’s edition:


Project Titan Executive Sponsor:  Most of you are aware Dr. Scott Modell will be transitioning with me to the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) as Deputy Commissioner.  Dr. Modell has served as the project executive sponsor since the beginning of Project Titan and has been instrumental in successfully guiding the project through its approval and procurement phases.  We greatly appreciate his hard work and dedication to the project and wish him the best in his endeavors with DCS.


Effective Monday, June 3, the role of project executive sponsor will transition to Lance Iverson, Assistant Commissioner of Fiscal & Administrative Services.  Lance has also been heavily engaged in the project activities since the beginning of Project Titan and both myself and Debbie feel that he will be an excellent choice to replace Dr. Modell in this role.


Organizational Change Management Cultural Survey:  As we continue to lay a foundation for our new Titan system, the differences in needs, clients, and culture within each of our regions and at Central Office becomes more apparent.  These differences can make or break a system initiative like Project Titan if the project team and leadership aren’t aware of or careful to take them into consideration.  To better understand and account for our differences and similarities, Debbie Payne will be sending a Culture Survey to all DIDD employees within the next week.  Her email will provide instructions on how to access and complete the survey.  The survey itself will take between 20-30 minutes to complete and your responses will be completely anonymous; not even the creator of the survey can determine who completed any given survey.  The results will be used to customize the project communications, training efforts, and support that you receive.  Results will be shared agency-wide so that everyone can appreciate the diversity of our regions and Central Office.  Thanks in advance for participating in the survey!


Provider Application Information and Requirements for New Waiver Services:  As we prepare to hold roll-out meetings for each of the three new approved Waiver services next week, we request that you review application criteria specific to the new Intensive Behavioral Residential Service (IBRS) model. Please click here to view the criteria. Applications for the newly approved Semi-Independent Living Services and In-Home Day Services will remain consistent with current Provider Expansion processes. IBRS, by virtue of the clinical responsibilities and competencies required, carries additional approval processes and requirements. Stakeholder feedback has supported the department’s assertion that the services added will provide great benefit to those accessing our array of services. We look forward to the opportunity to engage in productive dialog next week at each regional meeting.  Regional roll-out meetings are scheduled as follows:





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


Medication Administration:  Providers are asked to review a memorandum regarding verification of Medication Administration certification from Richard Shelton, Director of Staff and Provider Development.  It is available here.


Employment Update:  During the week of May 20, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) held a conference titled A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, in Washington.  Specifically, initiatives focused on the employment challenges that affect persons with intellectual and other significant disabilities and the role the state, government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for these people to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.


Tennessee demonstrated their cross-departmental collaborative efforts on the employment initiative by participating. Participants included Elise McMillan from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Cynthia Galbreath from TennCare, Gayle Feltner from the Department of Education, Jordan Allen from DIDD, Amy Gonzalez from DIDD, Susie Bourque from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Ruth Brock from Vocational Rehabilitation, Sue Karber from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Wanda Willis from the DD Council.  For more information on NGA, please click here.


In addition to attending the NGA, some participants met with individuals from Washington that included leaders from their Developmental Disabilities Administration, King County Developmental Disabilities Division, King County School to Work program, parent leaders/advocates, and a business owner who successfully made the transition from her sheltered workshop to community work. Tennessee is grateful to have wonderful mentors from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) through the Employment First Leadership State Mentor Program (EFLSMP) grant that can help pave the way for making the significant changes needed in order for people with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment in their communities.


DIDD Training Update:  We are pleased to announce more than 80 agencies went live in the new Relias training “Elevate” platform.  Webinars for the first week of June are as follows:


Monday, June 3: “Completed the Bulkload, What’s Next” (10 AM CDT, 11 AM EST)
Tuesday, June 4: “Supervisors Overview Q & A session for Relias” (1 PM CDT, 2 PM EST)
Friday, June 7: “Supervisors Overview Q & A Session for Relias” (9 AM CDT, 10 AM EST)

The DIDD website (click here)  has a new training tab with links to the recorded Tennessee webinars on the bulk download spreadsheets and enrolling new learners.  You can also find forms for moving learners and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section with answers. 


An Ounce of Prevention:  This week’s focus is documentation requirements applicable to behavioral providers.  In late 2004, a memo was issued in preparation for the “new” waiver of 2005 that stated, “Behavioral providers are required to sign in and out at service locations and to make a clinical contact note describing the service provided.”  Since 2005, practice has evolved to the point that a signature in and out on a visitor’s log or a signature line on the contact note that includes time in and out for use by the staff at the service location is acceptable.  This update in practice will be reflected in the new Provider Manual. 


Bertie-and-Bettie-RussellCelebration:  Last week, Omni Visions, Inc. and Comcare Inc., hosted a celebration at the Andrew Johnson Club House in Greeneville in honor of twins Bertie and Bettie Russell’s 97th birthday.  Their friends and loved ones were all in attendance.  The twins resided in Greene Valley Developmental Center (GVDC) for approximately 32 years prior to moving into the community where their community providers, Omni Visions and Comcare have worked collaboratively to ensure they have stayed in touch with one another over the years.  Pictured at right are Bertie and Bettie.