In 2005 the federal agency responsible for oversight of developmental disabilities conducted an audit of services in the State of Colorado. The audit findings indicated a need to have a statewide, standardized process to identify the support needs of people receiving services. In response to this audit the State of Colorado Division for Developmental Disabilities (DDD) adopted the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) for use.
The SIS was developed over a five-year period time by a group from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (formerly AAMR) and is currently used in 12 states. The SIS is an assessment that measures the type, intensity and duration of supports needed by an individual to complete particular tasks or participate in particular activities.
The assessment is completed through an informal interview process that includes people (respondents) who can identify supports needed by the individual in a variety of settings. This of course includes the person receiving services; if that person chooses to participate and can accurately identify needed supports. Typically, the interview takes about two hours of time to complete.
All interviewers are required to undergo training and a reliability test in order to pass certification before being allowed to administer the assessment. Each Community Centered Board makes the decision of how many interviewers to train and utilize within the agency.
In addition to using the SIS to identify support needs, DDD is attempting to use the information to try to establish a more standardized approach to funding. Medicaid services are required to have a consistent application, however, historically each Community Centered Board has had its own method for establishing funding levels. Therefore, DDD contracted with two independent agencies to formulate a tiered system of funding that will relate to support needs. The SIS, as a supplement to other information, will be incorporated into the funding mechanisms used by the state to set rates, beginning for comprehensive services in fiscal year 2008 and for SLS services beginning in fiscal year 2009.
Everyone in Medicaid Comprehensive and Medicaid Supported Living Services (SLS) must have a SIS completed. Interviews for people receiving Medicaid comprehensive services were completed between November 2006 and September 2007. Interviews for people in Medicaid SLS services will be completed between November 2007 and September 2008.