Trained volunteers hear cases of consumers with developmental disabilities who lack decision-making capacity and who have no legal guardian or authorized surrogate to make a decision or act in his or her best interest regarding medical treatment.  This is an alternative to the courts.  What makes SDMC different?

  • No court or attorney feesSDMC
  • Over 8,000 cases heard
  • Available Statewide
  • Hearings held in your area
  • Expedited hearings available
  • Hearings held within 14 days on average
  • Person-centered approach to medical decision-making

SDMC serves mentally disabled persons in facilities or programs licensed, operated or funded by the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities or the Office of Mental Health who do not have capacity to make informed decisions regarding major medical treatment and do not have a legally authorized surrogate to act on their behalf.

SDMC functions using specially trained volunteer panels that review declarations regarding a person’s capacity and need for treatment, then render a decision at a hearing.  SDMC decisions are rendered on average within 14 days from the time a case is received in our office.

SDMC offers a more timely, person centered and cost-free alternative to the court system to obtain informed consent for non-emergency major medical treatment.  The SDMC process keeps all interested parties involved while putting the needs of the patient first.

If you have questions or concerns about the quality of care being provided to a New York State citizen with a mental disability, would like assistance, or need additional information, please contact the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs:

General Phone: (518) 549-0200 (Voice)
TTY: Dial 7-1-1 for the NYS Relay and give the operator 1-518-549-0200


SDMC Program
NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
401 State Street
Schenectady, NY  12305