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    Support Intensity Scale and PA Plus (SIS™)

    INTRODUCTION: The Office of Developmental Programs, together with stakeholders from across the state, chose the Supports Intensity Scale™ (SIS™) to be the standardized needs assessment in Pennsylvania for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The SIS™ was developed by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) in 2004 and is used in several states and foreign countries. The Supports Intensity Scale™ was chosen so that the needs of all individuals will be assessed consistently and equitably throughout the commonwealth.

    The Supports Intensity Scale™ is unlike other assessments in that it does not measure an individual’s deficits, but rather, focuses on the supports needed for the individual to live an every day life. It compliments the individual support plan planning process as it addresses what is important to and for the individual. Topics include home and community living, life long learning, employment, health and safety activities, social activities, protection and advocacy, as well as medical and behavioral supports.

    The PA Plus was developed by stakeholders to be given concurrently with the Supports Intensity Scale™. It consists of a set of nine questions to provide additional planning information not covered in the Supports Intensity Scale™ assessment. Topics include supports needed for mobility, transfers, vision, hearing, communication, and safety, as well as assistive technology, treatments, medications and behavioral health. These additional questions are designed to support the planning process and better serve individual’s needs.

    While the Supports Intensity Scale™ is currently being used in other states as a budgetary assessment tool, the Office of Developmental Programs pledges that the Supports Intensity Scale™ will not be used in a formula to produce a budget amount in Pennsylvania. The Office of Developmental Programs also pledges that the Supports Intensity Scale™ will not be the sole source for gathering information about the support needs for individuals with intellectual disabilities. It will be used in collaboration with all other sources of information gathered for each individual as part of the planning process.

    ASCEND/ASSESSORS: To ensure that the administration of the Supports Intensity Scale™ is conflict free, the Office of Developmental Programs contracted with Ascend Management Innovations to conduct assessments in Pennsylvania. Ascend Management Innovations has a wealth of health care experience and administers various assessments in other states. While Ascend Management Innovations is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, all assessors live in Pennsylvania and are located geographically throughout the commonwealth.

    Assessors must have a four-year degree and three years of experience of direct work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are required to complete the Office of Developmental Programs and American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities training before they are approved to begin completing assessments. Their training continues after they are approved to maintain their assessor status.

    WHO WILL RECEIVE A Supports Intensity Scale™ ASSESSMENT? Everyone aged 16-72 who is enrolled in the consolidated or the person/family directed supports waivers as well as individuals entering the consolidated or the person/family directed supports waivers will receive a Supports Intensity Scale™ and PA Plus assessment. Individuals entering the waiver will be given priority in the scheduling process. The assessments are typically done at least every three years, but can be given more frequently if there is a significant change in support needs.

    FURTHER INFORMATION: Please click on the links below for more information.

    ODP 00-08-11 Support Intensity ScaleT (SIST) and PA Plus Bulletin, Cover Letter, and Manual
    SIS™ Assessment Form
    PA Plus Assessment Form
    Sample Summary Report 
    Supports Intensity Scale™ Assurance Letter
    Supports Intensity Scale™ Fact Sheet Helpful Info for Respondents
    Steps in the Interview Process
    Common Parent Issues and Questions
    Office of Developmental Programs/Supports Intensity Scale™: www.odpconsulting.net
    (Click on document storage then Supports Intensity Scale™)
    Ascend: www.ascendami.com
    Supports Intensity Scale™: www.siswebsite.org

    Bulletins:

    Bulletin Number: 00-08-11 - Support Intensity ScaleT (SIST) and PA Plus Bulletin, Cover Letter, and Manual, Issue Date 07/28/2008, Effective Date 07/28/2008
    Bulletin Number: 00-07-02 - Overview of the Supports Intensity Scale(C) (SIS(C)) and the PA Plus, Issue Date 04/26/2007, Effective Date 04/26/2007