Upcoming SIS-A Assessments of Adults with Developmental Disabilities Will Have System-wide Impacts

Over a year ago, the Bureau of Developmental Services (BDS) began a process to redesign the Developmental Disabilities waiver, the Medicaid waiver that provides supports to adults with developmental disabilities across New Hampshire. This process will result in a significant transformation of the system of services for adults with developmental disabilities.

For the past few years, BDS has administered the Supports Intensity Scale – Adult Version (SIS-A) assessment to all adults receiving DD services.  The results of each assessment were used to help inform individual service plans. Over the next few months, BDS will interview 400 adults in the DD system using the SIS-A assessment tool.  These 400 adults will act as a sample group and the results of this sample population will determine how services are delivered and funded system-wide, including what services are provided and at what rates.

If your SIS-A assessment is administered over the next few months (July-Sept 2022), you may be part of this sample population.

Since the findings from the sample population will be used to set service-wide standards for all adults in the DD system, it is more important than ever that you are as accurate as possible in describing the areas where supports are needed, including both medical and behavioral supports. It is also important to talk about paid and unpaid supports that are provided and that are still needed.
Do not assume that the person conducting the assessment knows how much support and help is provided for each task – details are important: If you can eat independently but require assistance to plan your meal, grocery shop, cook your food, set your table or, wash up afterwards, break down each task and share your actual experience including where you use assistance and if there are gaps in the services you need.

The SIS-A assessment interview can take 2-3 hours to complete, and the questions can sometimes seem intrusive and repetitive.  However, the people who are administering the SIS-A are trained to gather specific information, so it is important that you provide them with details so that their results are accurate.

Again, the results of assessments between now and September 2022 will be used to inform not only individual service plans but also the system-wide redesign of services for all adults with developmental disabilities across the state. The new rates and other changes based on this sample will go into effect in late 2023.

Additional Information

For more information on the SIS-A Assessment Sample Interviews

It is important that people with disabilities and families are speaking up about what they want in a redesign of the developmental disabilities system.

For more information on the DD Services System Redesign

It is important that people with disabilities and families are speaking up about what they want in a redesign of the developmental disabilities system.

Coalition letter raising concerns about changes to the DD system signed by DRC-NH and 19 other organizations: https://drcnh.org/news/bds-redesign-process-raises-red-flags-for-disability-community/.


Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities across New Hampshire. DRC is the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for New Hampshire and has authority under federal law to conduct investigations in cases of probable abuse or neglect.

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