Sweet Jordan’s brings back job coaches following TennCare issues

PARIS, Tenn. — Earlier this month, Sweet Jordan’s says they were notified by TennCare that they were violating TennCare rules by employing too many special needs adults, which prevented TennCare from providing job coaches.

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“They can only provide job coaches to individuals that are constantly moving and taking next steps, or that are in a place that has less than three percent or less special needs [employees] hired,” Sweet Jordan’s owner Tommie St. John said.

TennCare pays job coaches, who are paired with special needs employees.

The violation led to TennCare pulling all 18 job coaches from Sweet Jordan’s.

The rule itself is complicated, but the intent is to prevent businesses from exploiting special-needs employees. But now, places like Sweet Jordan’s are being flagged in spite of what they say are good working conditions.

“The community integration and the experience that individuals have when they come into Sweet Jordan’s, is like nothing they’re ever experiencing elsewhere,” St. John said.

Thanks to outcry from the community and assistance from local representatives, Sweet Jordan’s is talking with TennCare about changing the rule, and they were able to bring back all of their job coaches.

“Everybody is willing to help. We just need to change the guidelines, or whatever it is,” St. John said.

To make things more complicated, while all of this was happening, Jordan contracted pneumonia and had to be hospitalized at Henry County Medical Center.

“Because of your prayers, he is out, and he is doing much better,” St. John said.

The situation with TennCare is ongoing, but the family is hopeful. More than that, they’re thankful.

Jordan was discharged Monday and, while the medicine was giving him some trouble Friday morning, he still had that signature smile.

The St. John family says they want to show TennCare their model and how it benefits those with special needs.

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