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SIS and The Support Level Determination Process – What You Should Know

By Kelie Kyser, Communications Coordinator, The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties

Did You Know Concept

Once a month staff from The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties attends the Advocates’ Communication Meeting hosted by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing  (HCPF)– The Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD).  Each month, the meetings between advocacy stakeholders (like us) and DIDD open discussions for things that affect our community.  Topics range from updates on the Colorado Choice Transitions Sustainability Plan to announcements about events created to develop “New Pathways” to support people with I/DD and their families.

During the month of April, topics related to the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) and the Support Level Determination Process were discussed among the group.  Lori Williams from DIDD provided a presentation to explain and clarify questions about the processes for SIS reassessment and support level review.

We heard during discussions that families felt exhausted by the SIS process, and concerned that the practice lacked person-centeredness.

We know from conversations advocates in our office have had with families who are seeking SIS reassessments; many are concerned about the risk of receiving a reduction in their loved one with a disability’s support level.  This sentiment was echoed during the presentation from the Department and in response, the following metrics were shared:

During a 10 month period – July 1, 2014 through April 17, 2015 only 2 individuals who sought a SIS reassessment were given a reduction in support level.

Answers Concept

Here’s the breakdown*:

Out of 214 SIS Reassessment Requests

•             190 were approved for a new SIS Assessment

•             116 SIS reassessments resulted in a higher support level

•             30 SIS reassessments did not yield a change in support Level

•             2 resulted in a decrease of support level

•             42 SIS reassessments had not been completed (in process of being scheduled or completed)

•             12 were denied for a new SIS assessment

•             11 were approved for temporary support level increase

•             1 SIS reassessment request was withdrawn by the case management agency at their request

•             1 SIS reassessment request was pending (waiting on follow-up from case management agency)

Out of 61 Support Level Review Requests

•             53 requests were approved for a higher support level

•             8 requests were denied for a higher support level

The Takeaway – What Family Members/Caregivers Should Know:

There are three possible outcomes of having a SIS reassessment:

  • The Support Level can increase
  • The Support Level can remain the same
  • The Support Level can decrease

Based on the recent findings shared above, the risk of receiving a reduction in support level appears low.  For questions regarding the SIS and Support Level Determination, please contact Lori Williams at The Division for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by calling 303-866-5160 or emailing [email protected].

 *this information was provided by HCPF and can be accessed by visiting

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