Public Information Session Nov. 17 on New Individual Assessment of DD Support Needs

By Gina Macris

This article has been updated

A representative of the national organization which created the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS), the individual assessment used to assign Medicaid funding to adults with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island, will help explain a new version of the questionnaire at a public information and training session Thursday, Nov. 17.

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), which created the SIS used in Rhode Island since 2011, released a new version in 2015 that the organization says is better designed to capture the needs of adults with developmental disabilities.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) said that the new version, called the SIS-A, is being put into use this month in individual reassessments.  

The SIS, rather than focusing on an individual’s handicaps, was designed to determine how much support a person needs to function successfully in the various activities of daily living. It was not designed as a funding tool, but many states, including Rhode Island, use the SIS to determine individual budgets for support services.

The administration of the SIS in Rhode Island ranks high on the list of parental complaints, judging from comments made at public forums earlier this year.

The Nov. 17 forum will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.  in the Arnold Conference Center of the Regan Building at Eleanor Slater Hospital, 111 Howard Ave., Cranston.

BHDDH officials ask that participants RSVP by emailing

More information about the SIS-A is available on the AAIDD website. For additional questions, email

The SIS also will be on the agenda of a general public forum on adult developmental disability services, tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Cherry Hill Manor Nursing and Rehab Center, 2 Cherry Hill Rd., Johnston.

Jane Gallivan, a consultant to the Executive Office of Human Services, explained in some detail the rationale for moving to the SIS-A during an interview in late September. To read that entire article, click here.