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Politics

Lawmakers to Review Proposed DHHS Scoring System for Providing Services

Proposed rules that could cause adults with disabilities to lose critical support services will be subject to legislative review and approval as the result of action taken by several lawmakers.

In a 9-4 vote, the Health and Human Services Committee decided to review the Department of Health and Human Services’ Supporting Individual Success initiative.

Democrats were critical of the administration’s plan to change how it assesses the level of support services for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and autism.

Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell from Portland says the proposed change may not be the best method for determining eligibility.

“The department intends to use this Support Intensity Scale as a resource allocation tool as opposed to simply an assessment tool, which should be part of a person-centered process of deciding what supports are needed,” she says.

Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine from Westbrook, who co-chairs the panel, says the proposed changes could reduce services for disabled Mainers and that further study is necessary.

“If they don’t get the services they need it could be a huge step backwards for them,” he says. “So we heard the message loud and clear from these people and their parents and their brothers and sisters that we just really need to proceed very, very carefully.”

Five votes from committee members were needed to initiate the review, which will include a public hearing and a recommendation by the committee.