Share This Post

First Statewide Transition Plan Approved By CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that Tennessee is the first state to have their Statewide Transition Plan approved, formally recognizing progress in compliance with the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule. On April 13, 2016, CMS issued their final approval of Tennessee’s Statewide Transition Plan (STP), noting:

“… the state completed its systemic assessment, included the outcomes of this assessment in the STP, and clearly outlined remediation strategies to rectify issues that the systemic assessment uncovered…”

In order to benchmark and monitor the effectiveness of their Statewide Transition Plan, Tennessee has been using CQL’s free HCBS Settings Rule: Toolkit For States, which crosswalks the HCBS settings requirements with CQL’s exclusive person-centered tools, Basic Assurances®, Personal Outcome Measures® and in turn CQL’s PORTAL Data System. The toolkit demonstrates how information collected with these quality measurement tools and data elements can be used to satisfy new CMS reporting requirements.

“The Department, in collaboration with our partners from TennCare, has worked tirelessly with our providers to ensure the steps laid out in Tennessee’s Transition Plan focus on allowing people in our service delivery system to engage with the broader community and live the lives they envision for themselves,” says Debra Payne, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (TN DIDD). “While transition plan approval is the first of many steps, we believe our ongoing work through CQL’s Network Accreditation process has perfectly positioned us to be successful in coming into full compliance with the CMS Settings rules. “

Tennessee is the first in the nation to achieve statewide Person-Centered Excellence Network Accreditation by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. The state sought out network accreditation to develop consistent processes for quality monitoring and enhancement in human services, by focusing on person-centered practices and the achievement of outcomes that are defined by the person receiving supports and services. Network accreditation entailed a three-year process of capacity-building, data gathering and evaluation, along with embedding of Basic Assurances® and Personal Outcome Measures® within the state framework. It offers systems a method of defining, measuring and evaluating quality from the person’s perspective, through interviews with people supported, focus groups and self-assessments.This equipped Tennessee to improve quality of life and quality of services, through the exploration, analysis and achievement of individually-defined outcomes.

“The approval of Tennessee’s Statewide Transition Plan is a testament to their commitment to person-centered supports and services,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “We’re proud to partner with Tennessee, supporting and strengthening their efforts through network accreditation, while offering resources like the toolkit, that help in the development of their transition plan.”

“As a department, we strive to be the most person-centered and cost-effective service delivery network in the nation, and this accreditation process really helped us focus on providing support in the way people want it,” adds Commissioner Payne. “What’s most important in this journey isn’t the ‘accreditation’ label. It is truly about ensuring what we do is what people we support really want, not just what we think they want.”


Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.