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.


Shelia Boyington Appointed To Erlanger Board

Shelia C. Boyington, PE, has been appointed to serve on the  Chattanooga Hamilton County Hospital Authority Board of Trustees by Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.  The Chattanooga business executive replaces Rick Youngblood as the newest member of Erlanger’s governing body.   Ms. Boyington is president of Thinking Media, a Chattanooga-based educational ... (click for more)

Erlanger Breaks Ground On Outpatient Cancer Center

Elected officials and Erlanger Health System executives and representatives brook ground on the new outpatient cancer center and medical office building at Erlanger East. The new 80,000 square foot outpatient Cancer Center will include the Erlanger Center for Breast Health, an infusion center, radiation and medical oncology therapy, interventional radiology and imaging services, ... (click for more)

Witness Says Morse Told Him "His Emotions Got The Best Of Him" At Triple Killing In Lookout Valley

A witness told a Criminal Court jury on Friday that Derek Morse told him "his emotions got the best of him" at a triple killing in Lookout Valley. Michael Shavers also said Morse told him in detail about the slayings of John "Jake" Lang, Jon Morris and Caleb Boozer and the shooting of Matthew Callan at the Rolling Hills Trailer Park on April 9, 2014. Morse is standing trial ... (click for more)

Prosecutor Calls For "Meaningful Punishment" For Dyer, Brennan In $4.9 Million Swindle

Federal prosecutor James Brooks is calling for a "meaningful sentence" for Doug Dyer and James Brennan, who are charged in a $4.9 million swindle. He rejected arguments that they should receive leniency due to their age and health problems. They are set to be sentenced next Friday at 9 a.m. by Judge Travis McDonough. Prosecutor Brooks said concerning Dyer, "As this Court ... (click for more)

Fix Obamacare, Don't Repeal It - And Response (2)

John McCain recently said, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full (Congressional Budget ... (click for more)

Roy Exum - Wrong Never An Option

In the Navy SEALS, there are two ways you should ever do a task: “The right way” and “Again.” We as a society admit failure when we take the much-besmirched path of “the lesser of two evils” because the destination will always be “wrong.” It’s true: ‘start wrong-end wrong’ happens every time. Evil, no matter to what degree, is always wrong and when the Hamilton County School Board ... (click for more)