Haslam, Payne Announce End Of Court Oversight, Improved Services For Tennesseans With Intellectual Disabilities

Friday, September 8, 2017
Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Debra K. Payne on Friday announced the dismissal of the longstanding Clover Bottom lawsuit, effectively ending a quarter century of litigation and court oversight of intellectual disabilities services in the state of Tennessee.
 
U.S. District Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. dismissed the case and entered an order in which he found the state had complied with all conditions of a court approved plan to improve services and the quality of life for citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 
Tennessee now has quality assurance and protection from harm programs that support people with intellectual disabilities. These programs have been recognized nationally as models of best practice for other states. 
 
“We have fundamentally changed the way we serve some of our most vulnerable citizens in Tennessee,” Governor Haslam said. “I’m grateful for the tireless work of so many people to get to this point and ultimately improve the lives of thousands of Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
 
People First of Tennessee filed the lawsuit in 1995 and it was later consolidated with a case filed by the federal government concerning the conditions at three state developmental centers: Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville; Greene Valley Developmental Center in Greeneville; and Nat T. Winston Developmental Center in Bolivar.  The court partially dismissed the case in 2016. The closure of Greene Valley Developmental Center was the remaining item to be completed and occurred in May 2017. A separate lawsuit concerning Arlington Developmental Center was dismissed in 2013. All four developmental centers have now closed and thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities now receive home and community based supports.
 
“By every measure possible, the transformation has been a remarkable success,” said People First of Tennessee’s attorney Judith Gran. “Tennessee has one of the best community services in the nation, providing services and support in a rich array of programs.”
 
“The parties recognize that Tennessee is providing high quality supports in the community and no longer needs court oversight,” Ms. Payne said. “The path to this day has not been an easy one, and could not have been accomplished without long hours, hard work, dedication and a deep passion for the people we support shown by the employees of DIDD.”
 
The dismissal of this case was agreed to by all parties, including the plaintiffs who represented hundreds of Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities who at one time lived in one of the state institutions, as well as two parent guardian associations. 
 
In January 2015, the parties agreed to a plan to exit the suit in which DIDD and TennCare agreed to complete nine sections of requirements, including:
- Developing training for law enforcement officers who may come into contact with persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
- Authoring training for licensed physicians, caregivers and families to improve outcomes of medical care for people with disabilities;
- Revising individual support plans;
- Establishing behavioral respite homes in East and Middle Tennessee; and
Closing Greene Valley Developmental Center.  
 
DIDD is responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 8,000 Tennesseans with intellectual disabilities, as well as 4,000 individuals through the Family Support Program and is the first and only state service delivery system in the nation to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.
 
For more information on the Clover Bottom lawsuit, contact Cara Kumari at Cara.Kumari@tn.gov.


Chattanooga Heart Ball Nets $404,000 For American Heart Association

The American Heart Association’s 31st Annual Heart Ball, chaired by John and Lynn Anderson, netted over $404,000.  Proceeds from this event will help The American Heart Association reach their 2020 Impact Goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020. Over ... (click for more)

Breathe Easy Mobile Lung CT Coach To Visit Walker County

CHI Memorial’s mobile lung CT coach will provide computerized tomography screenings at the Walker County Health Department, 603 E Villanow St. in Lafayette on Wednesday, June 6, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.   "Lung cancer screening is a test to look for signs of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people. The low-dose CT scan shows a 3-D image of your lungs that is clearer and ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Donaldson Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Son-In-Law

A Criminal Court jury late Friday afternoon returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder against Glen Donaldson in the killing of his son-in-law, Adam Levi. He is facing 15-60 years in state prison. Judge Don Poole will set the sentence at a sentencing hearing on July 12.  He has been free on bond, but was taken into custody after the verdict. The jury deliberated ... (click for more)

1st Vote On Controversial Signal Mountain Grocery Proposal Set June 13; Town To Choose Either Tennessee American Or Waldens Ridge For Water Service

The next steps in rezoning 617 Cauthen Way were discussed at the Signal Mountain work session Friday afternoon. Since the last council meeting, Town Manager Boyd Veal created a list of conditions to include in the zoning ordinance relating to the proposed commercial development designed to assure that there is no negative impact to the surrounding properties or to the interest of ... (click for more)

Speaking Of A Cove

Mr. Sole Commissioner Whitfield,   I live in  a cove in western most Chattanooga. My back yard is woods. My front yard is woodland too. My neighbors and I had chance to voice our disagreement in 1996 to the proposed sale of a portion of the farm that dominated this cove and we did. There weren’t very many of us. One member of the group that listened to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Today’s edition of The  Saturday  Funnies is the most technical savvy, advanced, software-enhanced, and modern-day genius that I have ever delivered. I can sum it up in just one sentence: I am using a new H-P Pavilion that is the newest seventh-generation Intel Core computer and, if you want to see “real funny,” go get a new computer and try switching over your tech ... (click for more)