Spring 2016
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Justice Center Revises Code of Conduct
When the Justice Center was established in June 2013, the agency developed a Code of Conduct that contains the ethical standards and guidelines that must be followed by staff who work directly with people with special needs 

Staff are provided with a copy of the Code of Conduct at the time of their initial employment and must read and sign it annually. The Code provides a framework that is intended to assist employees to help people with special needs “live self-directed, meaningful lives in their communities, free from abuse and neglect, and protected from harm.”  

The code was revised in January 2016 to settle an improper practices charge brought by the Public Employees Federation (PEF). A copy of the revised Code can be found HERE. Although the complaint involved only PEF employees, the revised Code applies to all who are required to sign it.

The revisions help to clarify staff's obligations as they meet their work responsibilities.  

The Justice Center is developing a Code of Conduct training to educate and inform staff about their expectations and professional responsibilities.
Click here for a copy of the Justice Center's Code of Conduct.
Click HERE to sign up for Justice Center's eNews!

Protect People With Special Needs
If you see or suspect abuse or neglect by those who provide care to people with special needs, call the Justice Center Hotline:
SDMC Volunteers Serve as Surrogate Decision Makers for People with Special Needs
The Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) program, administered by the Justice Center, is an alternate approach to the courts to obtain medical consent for people requiring non-emergency major medical treatment.  People qualified to receive SDMC services must currently receive or must formerly have received services from a program operated, licensed or funded by the following New York State agencies:  Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), or Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).  They must also be unable to make their own decisions and lack a decision maker to act on their behalf. Individuals may also be eligible for end of life care decisions.

SDMC hearings provide quicker, more easily accessible, cost-free and personalized decisions on behalf of individuals with disabilities.  Hearings are conducted by four-member panels. Each panelist is one of the following: an attorney admitted to practice in New York State; a New York State licensed medical and health care professional (medical doctors, nurses, clinical social workers, etc.), family member (someone who is a former recipient of services or who has a family member who is or was a service recipient), and an advocate (a person with recognized expertise or demonstrated interest in care and treatment of individuals with disabilities). Panel members are appointed after completing a training session and they serve for 2-year terms. Members may be reappointed for additional 2-year terms.

Panels can be convened quickly and provide a decision anywhere from the same day or within 14 days from receipt of the case. No fees are assessed to either the patient or their provider agency. The panels are committed to representing the interests of the patient and often provide a better understanding of health care needs of people with disabilities than a routine court proceeding might. Recent cases included decisions allowing a cardiac patient to have a cardiac catheterization and receive a cardiac defibrillator implant. Another was permitted to have life-threatening kidney stones removed.
If you are interested in learning more about the SDMC Program or becoming an SDMC volunteer, call 518-549-0328. You can also email sdmc@justicecenter.ny.gov.  The SDMC also has a Frequently Asked Questions page here.  

Established in 1985, the SDMC Program serves approximately 1100 clients per year.
Mark M:  An SDMC Case Study*
Mark M. was a 46-year-old male hospitalized patient who was able to consent to medical procedures and treatment until a recent brain injury left him incapable of making such decisions for himself.  In this case doctors recommended a cardiac catheterization and a cardiac defibrillator implant.  Although Mark is married, his spouse was unable to provide informed consent for him because of her own intellectual disabilities.
The Surrogate Decision Making Committee Program received a request from his providers to render a decision.  The SDMC nursing staff immediately processed the request and two days later the SDMC panel granted approval for the procedures, which were performed successfully.

As a result of the treatment, Mark’s health and well-being improved.  He was admitted to a nursing home for rehabilitation and later sent home.  Mark continues to receive out-patient physical and occupational therapy and skilled nursing offered by his provider agency. 

*Name changed to protect the patient's confidentiality.
TRAID Program Secures $2.5 Million Grant
to Purchase Assistive Devices

The Justice Center’s Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID) program has secured more than $2.5 million in funding from the State Education Department to purchase assistive technology devices for individuals entering postsecondary education, training programs, or employment.
Regional TRAID staff will work with the State Education Department’s Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) program to identify individuals across the state who need devices. The devices will provide consumers with greater independence, helping them to succeed in their education, training and employment goals. The new devices are to include laptop computers with adaptive software, tablets with apps, and adaptive writing aids.
The TRAID program has established a successful track record with collaborations with the NYS Department of Health’s Money Follows the Person and Early Intervention programs. During the past year, 7,235 assistive technology devices were loaned to provide individuals with disabilities with greater mobility.  An additional 5,838 devices were re-utilized, refurbished, or repaired, resulting in an estimated cost savings of over $3 million.

The grant will provide TRAID with $510,000 per year over a five year period. For more information on Justice Center’s TRAID program, click HERE.
Resource Card Available for Custodians
& Human Services Professionals

The Justice Center has developed a new resource card to help custodians and human services professionals better understand and fulfill their obligation as mandated reporters. One half of this printer-friendly resource card contains information about who must report suspected abuse or neglect involving a person with special needs, along with instructions on how to make a report to the Justice Center’s toll-free Vulnerable Persons’ Central Register (VPCR) hotline.

The other half of the wallet-size card is to be given to victims, individuals receiving services, their family members or personal representatives. This portion of the card offers information about how to contact the Justice Center’s Individual and Family Support Unit. Advocates provide guidance and information about the Justice Center’s reporting and investigative processes, case updates and support during criminal cases.  Contact information for state oversight agency helplines is also included.

Mandated reporters who distribute these resource cards will help ensure that service recipients who have been victimized and their families can easily obtain the assistance and support they need,” said Justice Center Executive Deputy Director Jay Kiyonaga. “We encourage provider agencies to download, print and share this resource with their staff.”

If you would like resource cards sent to you, please send us an email with your name, organization, mailing address and quantity of cards. The resource cards are available in English and Spanish. You can contact the Individual and Family Support Unit in the following ways:  1-800-624-4143 (Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm). Relay users, please dial 7-1-1 and give the operator 1-800-624-4143.
Justice Center in the News
The Justice Center's Jurisdiction Covers Programs
Operated, Licensed or Certified
by the Following New York State Agencies:

Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
ffice of Mental Health (OMH)
ffice of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
ffice of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
epartment of Health (DOH)
State Education Department (SED)

Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs

161 Delaware Avenue
Delmar, New York 12054-1310
General Phone: (518) 549-0200
Report Abuse: 
1-855-373-2122 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Individual and Family Support Unit (IFSU): 1-800-624-4143  (Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm) Request Individual and Family Support.  Relay users, please dial 7-1-1 and give the operator 1-800-624-4143.
Information & Referral: 1-800-624-4143 (Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm)
Copyright © 2016 NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, All rights reserved.

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