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June 7, 2013

Open Line


First, let me say it has truly been a pleasure to work alongside Commissioner Henry the past two years and the momentum he set for our department will only continue.  We will greatly miss him.  I am honored to have been asked by Governor Haslam to serve as your next Commissioner for DIDD.  Many of you know me and know that I have spent my entire career advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It is my passion. I began volunteering at Clover Bottom when I was 14 years old and along this journey I have met some of the most wonderful people I have ever known.  It is exciting to see how far the system has come in supporting people and I am confident that our dedication and commitment will keep us moving forward. This week’s edition includes important information I want to share with you:


Farewell:  Missy Marshall, DIDD Director of Communications & External Affairs, is leaving DIDD to accept a position with the University of Memphis as Executive Director for “Keep Tennessee Beautiful.”  Missy came to work for the department in 2004 as a legislative liaison.  In 2008, at the request of former Deputy Commissioner Steve Norris, she accepted the role of Director of Public Affairs which included responsibilities for communications and legislation.  In 2010, she also had the distinct honor to work on the team that assisted the legislature with establishing the department.  Over the past two years, Missy has been able to help lead efforts in passing significant legislation such as Lynn's Law, transferring licensure responsibilities from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) to DIDD, and the creation of one statewide Admissions Review Board.  In her 20 years of state government service, Missy noted that her nine years at DIDD have been some of her most rewarding.  We appreciate her contributions to the department and wish Missy and her family the best in Memphis.


New Employee:  The department would like to welcome Patricia Malone as the new Employee Relations Specialist.  She will be handling all statewide Employee Relations issues and investigations requests. Patricia will be located at Clover Bottom, Fir Cottage and can be reached at Patricia.Malone@tn.gov


TastyTreatsThomas’s Tasty Treats:  Thomas is 40 years old.  He attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and received services from a number of providers before he started his microboard, Thomas's Supports, Inc.

Once Thomas was settled into his new home, his microboard began to focus on employment.  A prior vocational rehabilitation evaluation made it clear that a very special employment opportunity would be needed in order for Thomas to be a success. 

His microboard decided to try helping him with self-employment and his conservator thought that an "honor snack basket" might be something he would enjoy.  Lori Crawford, Thomas's new Services for the Blind Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, worked with Jill Rodgers at the Tennessee Association of Microboards and Cooperatives to help them work with his microboard to establish Thomas’s Tasty Treats as a sole proprietorship. Pictured to the right is Thomas and his team.

Thomas's microboard hired a great job coach, Jessica Backman, to help get Thomas and his business off to a great start.  She and the rest of his team receive support from a fantastic speech and behavior therapist to expand Thomas's sign vocabulary to include his new job and make sure his routine fits his needs.  Thomas and his team all wear the same uniform to emphasize that he is working to make money just like everyone else.  One of the members of Thomas's microboard introduced Thomas to an architectural firm in downtown Nashville.  They became Thomas's first customer and he keeps baskets stocked for their three break rooms.  We are proud to share that our department recently became one of Thomas’s customers.

Thomas's treats are centered around healthy choices including: gluten-free, diabetic friendly, low-carb, and fat-free.  They welcome requests and would be glad to get whatever snacks you desire.

Self-employment is a really good option for Thomas because his health issues can put him on the sidelines from time to time.  His schedule has enough flexibility to keep him working and his customers happy. Thomas stays pretty busy when he is not at work.  He works out at the YMCA during the week, hangs out at the park and is looking forward to swimming now that the weather is getting warmer.  Since Thomas's biggest dreams from his person-centered plan have been achieved, he's now looking forward to making new friends, fixing up his backyard, going to camp and of course, making more money!


DIDD Training Update:  We are pleased to announce more than 90 agencies went live in the new Relias training “Elevate” platform.  Webinars for the second week of June are as follows:


June 10: “Completed the Bulkload, What’s Next” (1:00 PM CDT, 12:00 PM EST)
June 11: “Sub Portal Administrators Overview” (1:00 PM CDT, 2:00 PM EST)
June 12: “Supervisors Overview Q & A Session for Relias” (9:00 AM CDT, 10:00 AM EST)
June 13:  “Supervisors Overview/Q & A Session” (2:00 PM CDT, 3:00 PM EST)
June 14: “Sub Portal Administrators Overview” (10:00 AM CDT, 11:00 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. 


Accolades:  SRVS (Shelby Residential and Vocational Services) received The Arc Tennessee Agency of Distinction award during the 11th Annual Tennessee Disability MegaConference on May 31 at the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel. The award honors a public or private community organization that provides exemplary supports for people with disabilities. It recognizes organizations that provide supports that exemplify the mission, core values, and position statements of The Arc. Arc Tennessee Board Member Carol Greenwald presented the award to SRVS Executive Director Tyler Hampton during the Awards Banquet.  Congratulations to SRVS on this outstanding achievement.


SRVS has committed to the initiative of placing persons with disabilities from sheltered workshop settings to community employment. They are currently receiving Technical Assistance from the department’s Subject Matter Experts as part of the Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP) grant.


Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: All contracted day and residential service providers should have received a TennCare memorandum this week from their regional office informing them of the opportunity to contract with Managed Care Organizations (MCO) to provide non-emergency medical transportation. Day and residential service providers interested in learning more about providing this service should contact the MCO in their service area. You can view the original memorandum with MCO contact information here.


Human Resources Routing Process:  The department’s Human Resources (HR) division has undergone several changes in the last few months, including adding a few much needed staff.  As a result, a new routing process has been developed so that everyone will know where to send HR requests based on type.


If you are a regional location, you have dedicated HR staff that are your first line of contact for all transactions and FMLA.  You will still route to the listed persons for Class Comp and Employee Relations.

Please refer to the routing table below.  Thank you all in advance for helping to ensure HR is able to respond timely to all of your requests.


Request Type

Contact Person

For Class/Comp to include reclasses, overlaps, interim appointments, etc.

Jerry C. Jones

Please copy Lisa Kent.

For Employee Relations to include all discipline-related correspondence, investigation requests, and documents that need review prior to delivery to employees. 

Patricia Malone

Please copy Sherrie Artman.

For Transactions to include:

  • PEs, job plans and interims for filing
  • Requests to announce positions and all steps in hiring process
  • Salary changes for any reason (promotion, demotion, suspensions, etc.)
  • Transfers
  • Separations, Retirements
  • Reports-to changes

Central Office: Cheryl Killoran
West/Middle Region: Carole Worrell
East Region: Claudia Davis

Please copy Kim Lannan, HR Manager, on all requests. 


Central Office: Cheryl Killoran
West/Middle Region: Carole Worrell
East Region: Claudia Davis

Please copy Sherrie Artman.

Organizational Chart Changes

Nani Rice – All

Please copy Sherrie Artman.


Central Office/West Region: Cheryl Clark
Middle Region: Renee Allen 
East Region: Jerry Scalf

Please copy Cheryl Clark on all requests.


An Ounce of Prevention:  The Waiver Roll-Out meetings were held as scheduled this week and provider attendance and participation was exceptional in all three regions.  Dr. Jeanine Miller’s overview of the changes to all three waivers was closely followed and in response to multiple requests, a copy of her PowerPoint presentation will be posted on the DIDD website next week.


Licensure Update:  As discussed during the Waiver Roll-Out meetings this week, three new services have been approved.  Here is a brief recap of the licensure implications for each:

Intensive Behavioral Residential Services- Submit an expansion application to Linda Maurice to add this service.  The services must be provided in a home licensed for Residential Habilitation.

Semi-Independent Living Services (Self-Determination only)- Submit an expansion application to Linda Maurice to add this service.  This service will be added to the license associated with the corporate office (the home itself is not licensed, rather the service is).

As with existing services, Ms. Maurice will notify the applicant when to begin the licensing portion of the process for both services listed above.

In-Home Day Services- Submit an expansion application to Linda Maurice to add this service.  This service will be considered “part of” the Adult Habilitation service and does not require any additional licensure action.


Project Titan:  Assistant Commissioner Lance Iverson and I received updates over the last few days on the status of Project Titan.  The hard work completed to date by so many people on this project is appreciated by all of us in DIDD leadership and we understand that this work has kept this project on a path to success. 


These summer months will be absolutely critical to keep the project on that successful path.  Success through a full implementation of this information system is a DIDD priority and therefore it is so important for all involved to contribute to this development effort when needed in the days and weeks ahead.

Pinelake Youth Group Visits CBDC and Harold Jordan Center:  On Tuesday, May 28, roughly 200 people from the youth group from Pinelake Church in Brandon, Mississippi spent the day at Clover Bottom.  In the morning they planted flower and vegetable gardens at the cottages and in the HJC courtyard, they washed windows and spent time with people and their staff.  In the afternoon, they put on a wonderful concert at The River Church across the street from campus.  Inspirational stories, uplifting music, and dancing were also shared. We cannot thank them enough for the gifts of their time, attention, effort, and expense.