This week, an impressive new state agency opened for business: the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
Last year, New York enacted new legislation establishing the Justice Center to provide tough oversight and transparency for those facilities across the state responsible for the care of special needs individuals. The Center also has a substantial infrastructure designed to prevent neglect and abuse. And it implements quite a few other protections and improvements.
One accomplishment that caught my eye is dramatically improved clarity regarding the operation of the Surrogate Decision Making Committee. The SDMC had already been in operation for years and is now part of the Justice Center. The SDMC is one of the best designed mechanisms in the country for making medical decisions for the unbefriended or incapacitated patients, those with no available surrogates. It looks like oversight by the Justice Center will make the SDMC even better.