Coordinated Assessment System (CAS)

The Coordinated Assessment System (CAS)

The Coordinated Assessment System (CAS) is a comprehensive assessment tool that OPWDD uses to identify a person's strengths, needs and interests to help with the person-centered planning for his/her care.

The CAS starts with a conversation to gather information. The CAS looks at all areas of the person's life such as living skills, health, behavior and supports to help develop a care plan that is unique to you. This approach also includes talks with others who know the person well, such as their circle of support, family members, friends and staff providing your supports.

The CAS is now being used for people who are 18 years of age or older, newly eligible or who are transitioning to adult services.

OPWDD assessment

Once a person is determined eligible to receive OPWDD services, an assessment is completed by OPWDD Front Door staff to help identify the person’s strengths, needs and the natural or community supports available to him or her. OPWDD currently uses two tools when assessing service needs:

1.   The Developmental Disabilities Profile (DDP-2) is a brief assessment used by OPWDD to identify the challenges that someone with developmental disabilities may have and to identify their service needs. OPWDD staff  then works with the person and their family to complete the DDP-2 during the initial assessment process. To do this, OPWDD staff asks questions about the person's life in order to more fully understand their strengths and needs.

2.   The Coordinated Assessment System (CAS) is a comprehensive assessment tool used by OPWDD to identify an individual’s strengths, needs and interests and to assist in person-centered planning for care.  The CAS asks many questions about a person, their living situation, their needs and interests, and their challenges so that the services that will best meet their needs can be identified. The CAS is now being used for people who are 18 years of age and over, newly eligible, or transitioning to adult services.  

Eventually, the CAS will replace the DDP-2, until that time, both will continue to be used.

The CAS process

The CAS is a three-part process which includes:

  • discussion/observation with the person
  • discussion with others who know the person well (such as family members, residential support staff, Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) representatives), and
  • a review of supporting documents, such as medical evaluations, etc.

The CAS assessor is trained to listen and consider all information shared to get an idea of the person's strengths, needs and abilities across multiple settings. The CAS assessor reviews the information gathered from all the talks and the provided documents before the CAS is completed. 

  • Please be advised that assessment meetings are occasionally selected for a routine OPWDD CANS/CAS Field Observation (CFO). OPWDD is committed to ensuring that assessors are conducting quality assessments, in order to best identify care planning needs, supports, and services. For this reason, it is necessary for us to routinely review an assessor’s work by observing their process. This means that an OPWDD Field Observer (FO) may sit in and observe the assessment meeting. The FO would not actively participate in the interview, but would be there to listen and observe the assessor’s process. As with any CAS assessment, the person’s private information will be protected as per OPWDD’s Privacy Practices. 

Care Manager involvement

Care Managers may be interviewed in the process by the CAS assessor. In some instances, especially if the person only receives minimal services, the Care Manager may be one of the only resources for information for the person. The person may also ask that the Care Manager or other staff be present during the discussion with the CAS assessor, but it is not required for the Care Manager to be present during the assessment/discussion/observation.

Once the CAS is completed

After the CAS has been completed by the CAS assessor, it is electronically transferred within 48 hours to the person's record in the OPWDD computer system, CHOICES. The Care Manager will review the CAS summaries with the person, his/her actively involved family member and/or legal guardian and his/her supports (i.e., residential provider, Consumer Advocacy Board (CAB), as appropriate and within 30 days. At this time, the person, his/her family and/or guardian may provide any other information they would like included in the person-centered planning process and in creating the Life Plan.

CAS summaries

The CAS summaries will be used to create the Life Plan. They provide the Care Manager with information about the person's needs, strengths and interests. Details provided in the CAS summaries will help the Care Manager confirm information already known about the person, or will identify areas that require further exploration or assessment.

CAS participation

State laws and regulations require that an assessment chosen by OPWDD must be used to review and record a person’s strengths and needs, as a condition of receiving OPWDD services.  OPWDD uses the CAS to conduct these required assessments. The CAS is a tool that is very effective at helping OPWDD to learn more about the strengths and needs of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Participation from the person and/or people who are close to the person is necessary. Completion of the CAS assessment is one of the requirements for receiving OPWDD services and is needed prior to the authorization of those services.


CAS summary disagreement

Review of the CAS summaries  is an opportunity for the person to talk about any questions or concerns about the information in the assessment. It is necessary to document and capture details of the review, beliefs, opinions, and the perspectives of others to provide context for understanding his/her unique interests, skills, abilities and needs. The Care Manager may need to talk with those who know the person well, those who were interviewed by the assessor, and review the documents used by the assessor to develop a full understanding of the person's strengths and support needs.

Next steps

Once this review has been completed, if there are questions and concerns that have not been resolved, the Care Manager must use the CAS Request for Review Form (see below) and send a message via secure email server to [email protected].

The form must include:

  • Care Manager's note/documentation of CAS summary review.
    • Note/documentation MUST be attached to the email and capture details of the review, ​including newly learned information, need for any follow-up, and how this information is addressed in the Life Plan. Identify item(s) that may appear incongruent, as applicable. Discuss and document the reasons and details around why the team feels the items are incongruent.
  • Care Manager’s name and contact information.
  • Name of the person receiving services and his/her contact information, TABS ID, actively involved family member and/or Legal Guardian's name and contact information.
  • Date of assessment.
  • Assessor's name, if known.
  • Date of review of CAS summaries with the person, actively involved family member and/or Legal Guardian and support staff, as appropriate.
  • Specific section(s), item(s) and responses of the CAS summary or summaries that have been identified as a concern.
  • Any additional information that may be an important consideration in the review of the concern and that could assist with substantiating the reason for the concern or the discrepancy (e.g., additional context/details, supporting documentation).

OPWDD will follow up with the person, family member, advocate and/or Care Manager and will provide a response to the questions/concerns that may include additional guidance, a formal correspondence, and/or additional actions, as appropriate.

If the person or family has any additional questions or concerns, they may complete the following steps:

  • Call 1-518-473-7484 with the following information ready to provide:
    • The name of the person calling and their relationship to the person receiving services.
    • The name of the person (and TABS ID, if known) who the CAS was completed on.
    • Name and agency of the Care Manager.
    • Date of the assessment, if known.
    • Assessor's name, if known.
    • Date that the person reviewed CAS summaries with the Care Manager, family and/or Legal Guardian, and his/her support staff, as appropriate.
    • Specific section(s), item(s), and responses of the CAS summary or summaries that the person is concerned about.
    • A phone number and a time for a member of the CAS team to return the call.

More about CAS

Forms & Related Documents