The Surrogate Decision Making Committee (SDMC) program is an alternative to the court system for individuals who lack capacity to provide informed consent, do not have a legally authorized decision maker to act on their behalf and are in need of non-emergency major medical procedures.  The SDMC program also handles end-of-life decision making for qualifying individuals.


Persons who are eligible for the program are currently or have previously been in a residential setting or received services from a program operated, licensed or funded by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), or the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). 


SDMC uses specially trained volunteers to review declarations regarding a person’s capacity and need for treatment and then renders a decision at a quasi-judicial hearing.  Whenever possible, the person in need of treatment attends the hearing.  On average, SDMC decisions are made within 14 days from the time a case is received.  This service is offered free of charge.

If you are interested in learning more about the SDMC program, becoming an SDMC volunteer or receiving training, please call (518) 549-0328, (800) 624-4143 or by email at