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.


VIDEO: New Hospice Care Center

A new Hospice Care Center has moved across from Erlanger Health System on 3rd Street. It will open  on Monday . (click for more)

State Representatives Gerald McCormick And Ron Travis To Serve On Wellness Caucus

State Representatives Gerald McCormick and Ron Travis announced Wednesday that they will serve on a Wellness Caucus created by members of the Tennessee General Assembly and in collaboration with the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness.   The caucus is chaired by State Representative Ryan Williams and Senator Bo Watson. It consists of 37 members from both the House ... (click for more)

Spring Creek Elementary Closed Monday And Tuesday Due To Fire In Boiler Room

There was a fire early Monday around  4 a.m.  in the boiler room at Spring Creek Elementary School causing the school to be closed Monday and Tuesday.    Damage from the fire was contained to the boiler room but the utilities to the building are also in the damaged boiler area which left the school without power, heat and other necessities to have ... (click for more)

Tony Williams, 26, Shot On Dodson Avenue Late Sunday Night

Tony Williams, 26, was shot late Sunday night on Dodson Avenue. Chattanooga Police responded at 11:50 p.m.,  to the 900 block of Dodson Avenue on a shooting.   Upon arrival, police located the victim who was suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. HCEMS responded and transported the victim to a nearby hospital. The victim advised police that the ... (click for more)

Pollution For Profit?

Why should Chattanooga allow special interests to boost sediment pollution in our South Chickamauga Creek? To pad their profit margin and pass that cost on to city taxpayers? If your city council votes to reduce the storm water regulations – that is the result we can expect. Special interest homebuilders profit, but citizens pay.  More sediment pollution and paid for with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: America’s ‘Shush’ Fund

Michael Reagan, the son of one of our nation’s greatest presidents, wrote a wonderful op-ed piece on Sunday that explained why he believes the women who have stepped forward to allege they were once abused by Judge Roy Moore. He wrote that when he, a political consultant, is asked why the women waited 40 years to bring up the charges, “I tell them I didn’t reveal my sexual abuse ... (click for more)