Friday, April 12, 2013

SIS Round Two

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the evaluation the State conducted on Lyn to determine her level of need and skills.  The test that was given to Lyn was the Supports Intensity Scale.  The evaluation results indicated she was placed at a B level and should be able to live independently.

Lyn was not alone in being placed in a category which did not represent the reality of her needs.  It turns out that as 30% or more of those evaluated with the SIS scale in New Mexico were inappropriately placed in a high category with an indication that they did not require services.  The issue was so significant that the Disability Rights New Mexico organization and a number of private attorneys contested the state's findings on at least 600 individuals.

Mom contested Lyn's results on her own.

When a result was contested, that individual's services were frozen at the level before the evaluation.  They were not reduced while the state regrouped and began to conduct new SIS tests on these individuals.  Lyn's second SIS evaluation happened this week.

The first evaluation was conducted in June 2011 by an evaluator brought in from Washington, DC to evaluate and to train NM based evaluators.  The SIS evaluator this time was a lady the state brought in from Canada specifically to conduct the SIS evaluations and re-evaluations.  This raises the question: Are there no properly trained evaluators in NM?  If not, then how does the state hope to manage cases going forward?  Are they just going to continue bringing in evaluators from out of state?

The evaluation was conducted in the home.  Lyn's case managers, one of the day hab staff, Lyn and Mom were all addressed by the evaluator who asked the questions and wrote copious notes.  Mom writes, "We pointed out that now she isn't left alone whereas in the past she could have been alone all day.  Even Lyn says she can't be alone."  

It is going to be several months before the results from this test are shared with Mom and Lyn.  We all hope that it is a more accurate reflection of Lyn's current capabilities.

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