Audit finds problems in Tennessee disabilities department

Audit finds problems in Tennessee disabilities department

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NASHVILLE (WATE) - An audit by the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office found what it calls serious problems within the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) that the comptroller says must be remedied.

DIDD provides services directly to recipients or indirectly through contracts with community providers including institutional care and individual supported living.

Among other findings, state auditors reported that DIDD's former deputy commissioner of the Office of Policy and Innovation improperly assumed the authority to overturn two substantiated allegations of misconduct against provider employees.

Auditors say the department did not establish appropriate safeguards to govern the background checks of DIDD employees, volunteers, or provider employees. They say this resulted in employees starting work before background checks were finished and some had disqualifying drug convictions that went undetected.

They also say DIDD was not providing adequate services for individuals with developmental disabilities in violation of statutory requirements and its own mission statement.

"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 October 23 in Nashville.

DIDD was serving 8,096 individuals as of May 31 of this year.


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