Audit Exposes Problems At The Department Of Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities must remedy serious problems in its service recipient safety practices, service delivery system, and information system implementation efforts, according to a report released Tuesday by the Comptroller’s office.

The department provides services directly to recipients or indirectly through contracts with community providers in a variety of settings, ranging from institutional care to individual supported living in the community.  DIDD was serving 8,096 individuals as of May 31 of this year.

Among other findings, state auditors reported that:

· DIDD’s former deputy commissioner of the Office of Policy and Innovation improperly assumed authority to overturn two substantiated allegations of misconduct against provider employees and therefore did not intend to hold the provider accountable for service recipient deaths;

· The department did not establish appropriate safeguards to govern the background checks of DIDD employees, volunteers, or provider employees. That deficiency resulted in employees beginning work before background checks were completed, volunteers who had no background checks performed, and provider employees with disqualifying drug convictions that went undetected;

· DIDD was not providing adequate services for individuals with developmental disabilities in violation of statutory requirements and its own mission statement;

· Until top state officials find a sufficient funding solution, the high number of individuals with intellectual disabilities on the waiting list for Medicaid services will continue to plague the department; and

· Since 1994, DIDD has spent at least $4.3 million to replace its outdated information system with little to show for the expense. DIDD has estimated that it will spend another $11.8 million to complete the project.

“DIDD serves some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson.  “Therefore, the department must do its utmost to ensure the safety of each individual served and to enhance the quality of life of all Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Auditors will present their findings at a meeting of the General Assembly’s Government Operations Joint Subcommittee on Education, Health and General Welfare on Oct. 23.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Hearing Room 16 at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville. 

To view the DIDD report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/repository/SA/pa13043.pdf


Alexander, Murray Committed to Getting a Result This Year on Legislation to Drive Medical Innovation

The leaders of the Senate health committee, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), released the following statement on their work on a Senate version of the 21st Century Cures legislation:  “We continue our work on bipartisan legislation to spur cures and treatments and better health for Americans. We’ve been working for a year and a half on behalf ... (click for more)

JHM Certified Public Accountants Celebrates New Location

After nearly 40 years in their downtown location, Johnson, Hickey & Murchison Certified Public Accountants, a Chattanooga-based CPA firm, is moving to a new site just off Shallowford Road.   “The new location and fresh build-out have provided us with renewed energy and enthusiasm,” said Dean Krech, managing partner for JHM Certified Public Accountants. “We are so thrilled ... (click for more)

Commissioner Smedley Comes Up With Another $25,000 To Do Away With Porta Potties At East Hamilton

County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley has come up with another $25,000 to try to do away with porta potties at East Hamilton Middle/High School. She earlier pulled $100,000 from county funds for the project. Commissioner Smedley said the initial projected cost was $100,000, but the price tag has gone up. The money would be used to build a restroom facility and concession ... (click for more)

Investor Sues Dyer, Brennan For $37,500, Plus $1 Million Punitive Damages

A man who said he invested $37,500 with Douglas Dyer and James Brennan is suing them for that amount, plus attorney fees and $1 million punitive damages. The complaint in behalf of David T. Hardegree was filed in Circuit Court. Also sued were Alison Dyer and Carole Brennan as well as Broad Street Ventures. Mr. Hardegree said he turned over the money to the men for the purchase ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vin Scully’s Last Time

It is said that the opening paragraph of my favorite ode to baseball should be the centerpiece for the canon of sports literature. It was written by former commissioner Bart Giamatti in "The Green Fields of the Mind,” a most marvelous essay to the last day of the regular season in the major leagues. “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in ... (click for more)