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October 11, 2013

Open Line

October 11, 2013

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

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program:  The goal of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program is to enable beneficiaries with disabilities to make informed choices about work and to support working beneficiaries in making a successful transition to self-sufficiency.  Each WIPA project has Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) who will provide in-depth counseling about benefits and the effect of work on those benefits and conduct outreach efforts to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries (and their families) who are potentially eligible to participate in Federal or State work incentives programs. Currently, there are CWICs who serve beneficiaries throughout the state; however, the Center for Independent Living of Middle TN serves beneficiaries in the Middle and West regions. Below, is a table of counties and CWICs representing each area (county representation may be revised as the project develops):


Contact Person(s)

Davidson and Robertson

Dylan Brown 

Bedford, Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Perry, Rutherford, Wayne, Williamson, Wilson, Cheatham, Houston, Humphreys, Stewart and Montgomery

Heidi Oechsel 

Stacy Gordon (Back Up) 
615-594-5742 -Mobile
615-515-8619 -Office

Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Lauderdale, Madison, McNairy, Tipton, Benton, Carroll, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion and Weakley

Renee Lopez 
Marquisa Maxie 


Hope Johnson 


Employment First:  On September 30, the department’s Subject Matter Expert from the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) met with SRVS and the Rochelle Center. The meeting was facilitated to review costs for Customized Employment and to further discuss budgets. Additionally, challenges were discussed with current policies regarding job coaching supports and caregiving. Ideas were shared and recommendations were made to continue progressing with the transformation from sheltered workshop settings to integrated employment.  If your agency is interested in working with the department’s Employment First initiative to transform your facility, please contact the State Director of Employment and Day Services at  or 615-532-6119.


Spotlighting Persons Supported:  Christy Jensen, Family Support Program Coordinator for the Community Development Center, shared with us that the daughter of Christy and Aksel Jensen, Annie-Grace, was recently voted Homecoming Queen at Liberty Middle School in Shelbyville.  Annie-Grace (pictured at right) is an 8th grader serving on the Student Council and a cheerleader. Congratulations Annie-Grace! We hope you enjoyed your day!

Person Centered Practices Update:  On September 25 and 26, the third annual Tennessee Gathering was held at Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee. Persons supported, providers, ISCs and state personnel from across the state attended.  This year’s theme was “Self Direction: Finding Our Own Way.” The self-advocates managed and directed the gathering. William Lovell of Buffalo River Services emceed, Pam Roberson and Doris Price also supported by Buffalo River Services, managed the registration. Mary Bowman (Michael Dunn Center), Garrett Jones (ABC Quality Care), Patrick Sanders (Easter Seals) and Ernie Roark (Emory Valley Center) all served as special project managers and breakout session monitors. Ashley Miller (West Tennessee Family Solutions) coordinated the door prizes.

Breakout sessions addressed various subject matters including ISP outcomes and action steps, Employment and Day services, Self-Direction with Morning Star Financial Services, Semi-Independent Living, Accreditation and Becoming a Person Centered Organization.

clipSpecial guest speaker Michael Smull, chair of The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLC-PCP), inspired the audience with his presentation on “Risk.” Michael is a well-known expert in Person Centered Practices. He challenged the audience to “think outside the box.” His presentation was a great way to end the Gathering; it recharged everyone.

The Person Centered Practices unit would like to thank everyone for their generous contributions and gifts for The Door Prize Extravaganza. The door prizes were a hit!  Special thanks to independent DIDD contributors Laura Doutre, Chrissy Phillips, Eunice Spencer, Margi Story, and Alice Taylor; additional independent donors Carol Rabideau (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center) and Robn Traugott (D&S); and provider contributions from Buffalo River Services, Compass Coordination, Direct Access Support Coordination, Emory Valley Center, From the Heart, Greene Valley Developmental Center, Michael Dunn Center, Neighborhood Network, Orange Grove Center and Pacesetters.

Free Employment Training:  The Tennessee Disability Pathfinder and Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board are hosting a Community Education Series training titled, “Transitioning into Employment” on October 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  at the Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board (313 West Cedar Street, Dyersburg).  The following organizations will share important information about services they provide to assist persons with disabilities transitioning into employment:

  • Secondary Transition Project, The Arc Tennessee
  • Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
  • Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board & Tennessee Career Centers
  • STAR Center
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program, Tennessee Community Services Agency

If interested, pre-registration is required.  To register, please click here.  For more information, please contact Megan Hart at or call 615-875-5082.

Middle Tennessee Regional Office (MTRO) Contact Information:  Listed below, is updated information for the Investigative Management office at MTRO:

Susan Fuller, Coordinator, 615-884-6092 (new number),
Angela Anderson, Program Specialist 2, 615-231-5462,
Jessica Bruce, Secretary, 615-231-5460,
Fax : 615-884-1911

MTRO Director of Transition:  The department would like to welcome Jerry Freeman as the new MTRO Director of Transition.  After retiring from a 23-year career in law enforcement, Jerry came to work for the State of Tennessee in 2006.  He worked for the Treasury Department for 2 years before transferring to DIDD in 2008.  Jerry spent his first 4 years with DIDD in the Protection from Harm unit as a DIDD Investigator and was then promoted to a Coordinator in the Transition Department.  Jerry has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Management.  He can be reached at  or  615-231-5049. Please join us in welcoming Jerry into his new role. 

Tennessee Government Leadership Conference:  The Tennessee Department of Human Resources’ Strategic Learning Solutions division and the Tennessee Government Leadership (TGL) Council announced the registration deadline for this conference is October 23, 2013.  This advanced leadership program is specifically for alumni of and participants in LEAD Tennessee, Tennessee Government Executive Institute (TGEI) and Tennessee Government Management Institute (TGMI). 

The conference will be held at the Curb Event Center on the Belmont University campus on October 30, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Registration opens at 7:00 a.m., with networking and a continental breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m.
This year’s conference centers around the theme “Creating a Culture of Innovation” and will feature author and Speaker Hall of Fame member Steve Gilliland as keynote speaker.
Additionally, Dr. Jeff Thompson from Peak Learning, will be the conference’s learning facilitator. Dr. Thompson is nationally known for his work in helping leaders understand adversity and strategically approach it through the Adversity Quotient model.

Conference registration this year is $100 per person and will be paid by journal voucher through your agency unless otherwise specified.  Continental breakfast, lunch, and free parking are included.  Please click here to register.

Patient and Family-Centered Care Workshop:  Family Voices of TN with the Tennessee Disability Coalition and the Tennessee Department of Health, are hosting a workshop for families who have children with special healthcare needs on October 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Persons interested in learning more about family-centered care are asked to complete a “My Doctor and Me Questionnaire” available here. For registration and location information, please contact Kara Adams, Family Consultant/Project Coordinator of Family Voices, at or 615-515-8634.

13th Annual Race Day:  People living at Greene Valley had no problem deciding how to spend the evening of October 3! It was perfect weather for the 13th Annual Race Day at the Valley. The annual event has grown from a few dirt track hot rods to what has become one of the most eclectic collection of vehicles at one car show.  Community owners from the Tri-Cities area brought 149 vehicles ranging from a 1927 Model A to a bright red Ford Mustang Cobra.  Several antique tractors were on display as well classic vehicles from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s,  and muscle cars from the late 60s and early 70s.  A few motorcycles, go-carts, and trucks were sprinkled in the mix to add a little excitement.  Children’s games, face painting, and train rides were also offered to the youngsters in attendance.  The evening ended with a magnificent display of fireworks.

Independent Support Coordinator (ISC) Accolades:  Journeys in Community Living has announced that the 2013 recipient of its “Them That’s Doing Award” is the ISC services of the Community Development Center (CDC). This award is given to agencies or professionals with whom Journeys works who have provided exemplary services to persons with intellectual disabilities. CDC provides ISC services to 27 persons that Journeys also supports.

“Their focus is always on the individuals, ensuring that they receive quality services which reflect both what they and their families want and need,”  explained Betty McNeely, Journeys’ Executive Director.

“We also are extremely appreciative of the professionalism of CDC’s staff. They hold us to a high standard, but also work very hard at communicating with our staff, improving their own performance and responding to agency requests and questions. I think we have a true partnership with them; a model for how our system should look as a whole.”

An Ounce of Prevention:  This week’s focus is on billing requirements for Personal Assistance (PA) and Day Services.  As specified in the waiver definition, the per diem for Day Services may be billed if a person receives 6 hours of direct services; however, in some circumstances, the per diem may be billed if at least 2 hours of direct services are provided.  For a complete description of these requirements please see the current waiver definition for Day Services on the DIDD website here.  When a person receives Day Services and Personal Assistance on the same day, it is critical that the documentation reflect when the Day Service begins and ends in order to verify that Personal Assistance was not “overlapped” with the Day Service.

DIDD Training Update:  In the department’s partnership with Relias Learning to make historical staff training records available to providers, DIDD is ready to do a final download of all historical training records from the College of Direct Support (CDS) in order to connect historical records to users in the Relias System.  Please note, if users are not in the Relias System, then no historical records can be attached.

The department has made every effort to combine records for duplicate User Identifications (ID’s) that were found prior to the first round of downloads, but if the properly constructed User ID (first initial +Last name +last 4 of social) was not in the Relias System, records may not have transferred.  Also, if users have changed their user log-in “User ID” in Relias, but the record from CDS has the OLD User ID, then it did not/will not transfer properly. Names are not the key, the User Id is the key, so if any user is missing training records, please verify that the User ID in Relias is exactly as it was in CDS.  If there are no missing records, then you may disregard these instructions.  If you have users who worked in CDS, but no historical records attached during the last download, please verify that the User ID is correct. 

Additionally, once the final download of records is completed, Relias will be updating User ID’s.  If the CDS User ID did not follow the correct format of first initial+last name+last four of SSN, names were spelled incorrectly, or there were name changes, names will be updated based on the information we received on the bulk load spreadsheets (Column AM-Corrected Username).  Therefore, if your learners are not able to log into the system with the username that they have been using, please have them log in with the corrected version of their username.  The Relias/DIDD Help Desk at is available for any assistance you may need.

If your agency has users with records in the CDS system, your agency will need to ensure that all bulk downloads are completed by October 22, 2013. Relias will conduct a final download of historical staff training records on October 25, 2013.  After October 25, records will be created in Relias as web courses are completed or events are attended and graded only.  Historical records that do not download will remain available from the DIDD Help Desk until June 30, 2014 and will only be sent as scanned printouts for your agency to print and file if you did not print transcripts from CDS.  After June 30, 2014, DIDD will no longer provide any historical data from CDS; therefore, learners will be asked to retrain in Relias for any course deficiency found on their transcript.

If you have any questions, please call Joyce Munda at 615-253-8338 or Tori Lindsey at 615-741-6159.


Be safe and have a great weekend!