Milestones - 1990s

A Timeline:

1990 Expanded the role and function of the mental health regional planning committees to include Community Mental Health Centers, consumers and representation from other state agencies. Tennessee's Medicaid Waiver for adults with mental retardation was one of the 25 winners selected from nearly 350 applicants who competed in the 1990 Exemplary State and Local Awards national program. A supported employment initiative between the Division of Mental Retardation and the Division of Rehabilitative Services was developed to provide the opportunity for 173 individuals with disabilities to work in community job settings.

1991 Evelyn Robertson named Commissioner of the department. New quality assurance program initiated to ensure that clients have timely access to desirable, effective services which meet recognized standards of good practice. Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services transferred to the Department of Health. The Tennessee Developmental Disabilities Planning Council established a statewide coalition of disability advocates, funded 10 projects which promoted the employment of persons with developmental disabilities and began publication of a state wide newsletter.

1992 Master Plan for Mental Health Services developed.

1993 The Division of Mental Health Services established an Office of Consumer Affairs.

1994 Tennessee pioneered TennCare, a substitute for the Medicaid program. Department of Justice charged DMHMR to provide supports, resources and expertise to improve the quality of life for Arlington Developmental Center residents.

1995 Marjorie Nelle Cardwell named Commissioner of the department. Construction was completed on a new state-of-the-art facility for Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. Preparation for the Transition to TennCare Partners, the Mental Health Services program within TennCare. Community mental health block grants were allocated to 30 private non-profit community mental health centers. Crisis, respite, housing, supported employment, psychosocial rehabilitation and forensic services were made available to consumers. Journey of Hope funding was targeted to develop education and training for families of individuals with SPMI. Its goal was to provide family members with skills to cope with relatives who had serious and/or persistent mental illness. Supported Living as a state-funded demonstration project was initiated. The Division of MR Services started an aggressive policy of downsizing developmental centers and increasing the quality of care available to their residents.

1996 The TennCare Partners program was officially launched. Under the TennCare Partners program, the department went through a monumental change involving not only contracted agencies, but also department-run facilities. The regional mental health institutes became more efficient and better able to compete with private providers. And, for the first time, consumers had other choices of where to go for treatment. Tennessee State government signed onto the Internet and implemented e-mail. Information Systems Management, in conjunction with the Division of Mental Retardation Services, began developing a new tracking and billing system. The Partners Program Information System was developed. Individual Support Planning adopted by Division of Mental Retardation Services. Commission on Compliance established to oversee Arlington Developmental Center's compliance with remedial court order. Coupled with the settlement agreement between People First, the United States, and the State of Tennessee, institutional reform of the Developmental Centers was initiated. TDMHMD and the Governor's Office established web sites. TennCare Partners Appeals Unit was created.

1997 Major public education campaign - Making the Vision a Reality: Opening Doors, Changing Lives was launched to share information regarding opportunities for people with mental retardation or other disabilities to live successfully in the community. State-wide conferences on Treatment Interface between Primary Health Care and Mental Health providers in Managed Care.

1998 Elisabeth Rukeyser appointed commissioner of the department. Governor Sundquist signed mental health parity legislation to ensure that insurance policies cannot discriminate in providing treatment for mental illness. This legislation prohibits insurance policies in Tennessee from enforcing lifetime benefit caps or other restrictions for mental illnesses that are not enforced for physical illnesses and surgical procedures. Nat T. Winston Developmental Center closed. Title 33 Revision Commission appointed to review Title 33 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, the law pertaining to mental health and mental retardation.

1999 A $12.75 million Children's Mental Health System of Care initiative for children with special needs was begun. The project targets children who are at imminent risk of being placed in State custody, hospitalization in residential placement, state custody and those in need of services which would allow for home care. A comprehensive revision of Title 33 of the Tennessee Code Annotated was passed on June 23. The name of the Department changed from Mental Health and Mental Retardation to Mental Health.