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September 6, 2013

Open Line

September 6, 2013

This week’s edition includes important information I want to share with you:

clipCommissioner’s Visits: I had the opportunity, along with DCS Commissioner Jim Henry and MHSAS Commissioner Doug Varney, to take a trip to Northeast Tennessee on September 3rd.  The three of us visited Dawn of Hope in Johnson City, where we toured the facilities.  We also had the opportunity to visit Cantech, a tape manufacturer that employs four of the people Dawn of Hope supports. We then traveled to Frontier Health in Gray, TN.  Frontier Health is a provider for all three departments and briefed the commissioners on the different services they offer.  Finally, we went to Greeneville and visited two of the East Tennessee Community Homes. We had the opportunity to spend some time with the people there.  Several newspapers and television stations in the area covered the trip.  It was a great way to highlight the variety of ways DIDD supports people in the community.  The trip also demonstrated just how much collaboration and cooperation there is among DIDD, DCS and MHSAS to ensure persons receiving state services are receiving the most appropriate and highest quality services in the state of Tennessee.

Elaine’s Walk: On September 13th, I am participating in Elaine’s Walk.  The purpose of the walk is to raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer. The walk will also serve as the Middle Tennessee Region’s kickoff for the Governor’s Wellness Initiative.  I’m encouraging all employees to join me.  A flyer for Elaine’s Walk can be found here.

State Accreditation Committee: The State Accreditation Committee met on August 22nd at the DIDD Central Office.  The purpose of this committee is to provide recommendations to the Department regarding matters of accreditation.  Data collected from reliable Personal Outcome Measures and Basic Assurances Validations was presented and discussed.  Recommendations were discussed regarding how to support provider organizations in supporting Self-Advocate mentors to be successful.  Recommendations regarding regional Advisory Committees were considered.  East Tennessee's Advisory Committee was held on September 5, 2013.  Plans are underway for regional committee meetings in both Middle and West Tennessee.

It is very important for the DIDD stakeholder community to understand how the process of the Department becoming accredited will impact them.   Beginning in December 2013, the Accreditation team will being interviewing approximately 420 people who use waiver services using the Personal Outcome Measures interview tool.  It is highly likely that as a direct service provider and Support Coordination provider, there will be someone you support that will be a part of the sample to be interviewed.  In the spring of 2013, a random sample of about 35 providers will be selected to completed a Basic Assurances self-assessment and the DIDD Accreditation team along with CQL consultants.  All of the information collected will be used in the development of the DIDD plan for accreditation.  Providers should begin to familiarize themselves with the Basic Assurances self-assessment.  A copy of the tool is available for review on the DIDD website.  In addition, please contact your regional accreditation team for more information or to participate in a Basic Assurances workshop.

State Accreditation Committee: On August 16th, the department provided a notice of potential funding opportunities for providers. The final date to submit inquiries was on August 22nd. DIDD has provided answers to the questions regarding the funding for our Employment First Initiative. There have been a few amendments regarding the schedule of events. To view the information click here

clipGreene Valley Advisory Council:  August 29th was exciting for two representatives of Greene Valley’s Advisory Council as they presented several large boxes loaded with school supplies to a group of Chuckey Elementary School students.  This year, the Advisory Council partnered with the Community Relations Department in the collection of school supplies which are made available to every student at Chuckey Elementary.  Boxes brimmed over with lined paper, crayons, glue, scissors, pencils, erasers, construction paper, markers, and folders which were donated by Greene Valley employees.  The presentation of school supplies is an annual event and one which is much appreciated by Chuckey Elementary School.  Students will soon be corresponding with some folks who live at Greene Valley via the pen pal program, and plans are currently being developed for more activities that can be shared during the school year.   Chuckey Elementary School and Greene Valley are Partners in Education through the Education and Workforce Development Program of the Greene County Partnership (Chamber of Commerce).

Employment Presentation:  On September 30th, Subject Matter Expert Nancy Gurney will conduct a presentation regarding Ticket to Work and applying to become an Employment Network. After the presentation, providers will have an opportunity to engage in a “Q&A” session with Nancy, SRVS, Rochelle Center and DIDD. Nancy will present at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (220 French Landing Drive, Nashville, 37243 in the Tennessee Conference Room side A) from 1:15-2:45pm. After that, the Q&A session will be facilitated from 3:00-4:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Amy Gonzalez at 615-532-6119 or

New Employee: DIDD is pleased to announce that Dana Scott has been named the Accreditation Coordinator effective immediately.  Dana has been with the DIDD Accreditation team since it was created in 2012.  She has worked for the Department since 2006, and was with the Agency Team prior to coming to Accreditation.  Dana has more than 17 years of experience in the field of intellectual disability services including providing direct support and case management in VA.  We are looking forward to having Dana in this position to ensure better coordination with all accreditation activities, especially as we move into 2014 and begin to collect data from the samples of people served and providers in our system. 

Project Titan Regional Provider Meetings:  On August 27th, DIDD presented information related to the upcoming Regional Provider meetings for Project Titan.  Providers that were unable to attend the meeting can view a recording of the event here. The Memphis and Jackson West Regional Meetings were held this past week with the remaining Regional meetings still to come according to the schedule below.  The purpose of these meetings will be to gather input from providers and to share information regarding proposed changes to current business processes.  The schedule has been updated to include the meeting locations.  We look forward to your participation in these meetings and hope that you will find them beneficial and informative.

Questions regarding Project Titan and meetings can be directed to For questions concerning meeting locations, please contact Valerie Williams at 615-391-9802.

Middle Region



8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (CST)

DIDD Clover Bottom Campus, One Cannon Way Basement Conference Room



1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CST)

DIDD Clover Bottom Campus, One Cannon Way Basement Conference Room

East Region



1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (EST)

Michael Dunn Center
6290 Gallaher Rd. Kingston, TN



8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (EST)

DIDD Greene Valley Campus, Adler Room



8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (EST)

Chattanooga ETRO Conference Rm.
5721 Marlin Road – Building 6100, Suite 3800


Customer Focused Services:  The Customer Focused Services Department held the 1st  Jackson Focus Group on Wednesday, September 28, 2013 from 12 -2. We would like to send a very special thanks to the Star Center and Mr. Daryll McGuire and his staff for accommodating everyone. There were 84 people in attendance and this included DIDD Person Centered staff, Advocates, BAs, provider staff and individual’s supported. The agencies that participated were: A + Care Solutions, Inc, Nicholas Matters, Inc, Guardian Community Living, Helen R. Tucker, Omni Visions, Easter Seals, Hardin County Skills, and Sympathetic Steps to Success.  Thomas O’Brien, Assistant Statewide Director for Customer Focused Services was the facilitator and discussed with the group the ability of individuals to speak up for themselves and let people know what is important to them. The discussion was about “How Do I Become a Self-Advocate.”  The group was very interactive and talked about their choices for their lives and how to make better choices. Our first meeting was a great success and we look forward for more successes to come. These meetings will be continued on a monthly basis. For more information contact Yolanda Beason, Customer Focused Coordinator @ (901) 745-7523 or email at

Employment:  The United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has recently announced that they will facilitate a forum with employers regarding the hiring of individuals with disabilities. The forums will take place from September 9th through September 11th and will be hosted by ODEP’s ePolicyWorks initiative. The main question this forum will address is, “What services do you need to facilitate the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities?” If you would like to participate, visit

An Ounce of Prevention:  For this week’s issue we are shifting focus to a responsibility that DIDD employees share with the provider community.  The topic is Fraud, Waste, and Abuse regarding Government Funds and Property.  The protections employees have as “whistleblowers” and the duties employers have to respond to allegations of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse are spelled out in DIDD policy 70.2.1, which can be found  here (PDF, WORD).
This policy also references signs which shall be displayed in DIDD Central and Regional Offices and Developmental Centers (see Section VI.A.2).  As noted in the June 28 edition of Open Line, the poster to be used in DIDD offices and facilities has been updated and can be here.

Family Support:  Following is a note from Elaine Broyles, a Family Support Coordinator from H.A.T.S. Inc. in Gallatin, TN.

I have been a Family Support Coordinator for 10 years and must say, it has been amazing, rewarding, and truly a blessing to be able to help so many people in the communities that I serve, who have disabilities.  I am so glad that I am able to come to work each day and be a part of such a great program.  There is never a day that goes by that I am not thankful for what I have, my health, my family and my job.

I love doing what I do and it is so very rewarding to me to be able to help those who have no one else sometimes to talk to, to visit them and to just give them a hug. These people are my family!  Some just call to talk, some call to cry and some call me to check on me! Who would ever want it any other way?  Family Support is the best program ever! It works, it has never had any major problems and all the people associated with it are hard workers and it is great to work with them all.  I only hope this program will last long after I am gone and that it will continue to benefit those in need.  I cannot thank HATS enough for giving me the opportunity to work in a program that means so much to me. I can only hope I have made a difference in many people’s lives and that I can continue to touch those who need services.

Have a safe and happy weekend!