Melanie Keller
2018-2019 TNCO President


Last year was a very productive year for TNCO. Under Phil Garner’s leadership, we were able to successfully gather legislative support for a rate increase to better pay our staff.  TNCO members remained involved in statewide planning groups including MCOs, Tenn Care and DIDD. We worked to further our relationships with our community partners. Our united voice was loud, strong and heard. We made a difference!

Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We need to continue with the momentum and move forward with keeping TNCO at the table for any decisions that impact our services and those we support. We will need to work together to educate legislators and advocate for services.  As providers we need to continue to support each other as well as hold each other accountable.

This year the general assembly worked with TNCO to provide a rate increase.  This long overdue increase was for the purpose of providers increasing DSP wages. We all know that recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a challenge at best. The legislators will be looking to see that we as agencies passed on the rate increases to the staff. Again, we ALL need to be accountable for this, both TNCO and non TNCO providers. Failure to comply with the legislative intent of the rate increase will jeopardize future increase, and we will lose the nonrecurring funds. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help or clarification. That is what your organization is here for- to help you!

We have an exciting educational opportunity this fall. The TNCO conference has been planned for many months with a high caliber of presentations. This is a perfect time to learn and network. Quality education is yet another benefit of your TNCO membership. Please join us this October.

Along with rate increase battles, we are continuing to deal with the challenges of a changing system. We have new waivers, old waivers, changes in service delivery and billing units. We have pay for performance and EVV on the horizon. The use of technology in supplementing services is on many people’s minds and in their strategic plans.  If anything is certain, it is that change is not slowing down and waits for no one.  TNCO has members involved in various groups with TennCare and the MCOs, including ECF services, CLS services, policy councils, a leadership group and continues to have ongoing meetings with DIDD.  Gubernatorial candidates were interviewed as TNCO worked to be proactive in establishing a relationship with whomever happens to win that election. We continue to advocate for a better medication administration and the good news is…..  there are some possibilities on the horizon.

There are many opportunities to become more engaged with TNCO.  We need everyone’s help. Please consider joining one of our work groups.  Attend your regional TNCO meetings. There is so much information presented at these meetings. Use the list serves when you need them. Ask for help if you need it. You will find that your TNCO peers are some of the nicest, and certainly most knowledgeable, people you will ever meet.  We have a lot of expertise available. Don’t be afraid to tap into it.

Let us not forget that as a group, we represent thousands of employees and people served.  That also means we represent thousands of VOTES!  We have the capacity to make a big noise.  We have elections this fall.  We should all be encouraging our employees and those we serve to get out and vote.  When we have concerns, as a group we should have enough voices to keep phones ringing and email servers humming, both at the state level and nationally when needed.  My personal thoughts are there is no one provider that can be everything to everyone. We all have a place and we all fill a need. We all help people to live better lives and that is something to celebrate!  It takes all of us working together as a community to make a difference. I am proud to be part of TNCO’s leadership team and I look forward to working with all of you to make this a stellar year!


TNCO Past Presidents

1978-1979 – Harvey Arnold

1979-1980 – Harry Gramann

1980-1981 – Eileen Harris

1981-1982 – Fred Waddle

1982-1983 – Evelyn Blythe

1983-1985 – Charles McLeroy

1985-1986 – Mike Carney

1986-1987 – John Theobald

1987-1988 – Larry Durbin

1988-1989 – Don Redden

1989-1990 – Jim Warchol

1990-1991 – Harry Adcock

1991-1992 – Betty McNeely

1992-1993 – Gayle Feltner

1993-1994 – Lee Chase

1994-1995 – Wanda Black

1995-1996 – Kyle Hauth

1996-1997 – Tony Roberts

1997-1998 – Jennifer Krahenbill

1998-1999 – Allen Hendry

1999-2000 – Jeffrie Bruton

2000-2001 – Cathy Cate

2001-2001 – Eric Thompson

2001-2003 – Walt Hunt

2003-2004 – Mike Cook

2004-2005 – Betty McNeely

2005-2006 – Lee Chase

2006-2007 – Paula York

2007-2008 – Tonya Copeland

2008-2009 – Donna Goodaker

2009-2010 – Jeffrie Bruton

2010-2011 – Dr. Luke Queen

2011-2011 – Becky Massey

2012-2013 – Randy Fulton

2013-2014 – Bill Brewer

2014-2015 – Mike McElhinney

2015-2016 – Tyler Hampton

2016-2017 – Jennifer Enderson

2017-2018 – Phil Garner