Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Improving Provider Quality - Prevention


Office for People With Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD’s) Mortality Review Process

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities often have complex conditions that can influence life expectancy.  Information about mortality provides a way to understand health-related patterns for people in OPWDD’s service system, with a primary focus on improving the quality of services and supports.  A mortality review is a strategic process for implementing health and safety initiatives; effecting prevention activities; informing changes in policies and procedures; monitoring performance and outcomes; reducing the occurrence of potentially preventable events; and engaging stakeholders in and increasing transparency of quality assurance processes.  OPWDD, in partnership with University of Massachusetts Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research, established a mortality review process to gain an understanding of current health problems, identify patterns of risk, and show trends in specific causes of death.  

OPWDD’s morality review process has a structure composed of six local mortality review committees and one central mortality review committee.  These committees are comprised of members with varied clinical, quality assurance, and program operations expertise, and are facilitated by appointed chairpersons.  Deaths of people receiving OPWDD operated, certified, or funded services are reported to OPWDD and the Justice Center in accordance with regulatory and statutory requirements.  Deaths that meet certain criteria, including deaths involving suspected abuse or neglect, are referred to either the local or central mortality review committee for review.  

Additional Resources:

NYS Justice Center Abuse Prevention Resource Center

The Justice Center’s abuse prevention efforts are critical to advancing its mission to support and protect the health, safety and dignity of all people with special needs and disabilities. The Spotlight on Prevention - Abuse Prevention Resource Center strives to be a source for up-to-date information, useful guidance and effective tools.

About OPWDD's Statewide Committee on Incident Review (SCIR)

The mission of OPWDD’s Statewide Committee on Incident Review (SCIR) is to prevent harm to, and abuse of, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through efforts to reduce and prevent incidents involving individuals receiving services in OPWDD’s system. Toward this purpose, the SCIR Committee’s primary responsibility includes developing recommendations for OPWDD regulations and policy on incident management.  The SCIR Committee also develops information on best practices in safeguarding through trend analysis and research, and disseminates this information to providers of services in the OPWDD system.  

Members of the Statewide Incident Review Committee (SCIR) are appointed by OPWDD leadership and include individuals who perform a variety of functions in OPWDD, at both Central Office and Regional Offices. Membership also includes representation from not-for-profit providers statewide and provider associations.  The Chair of the SCIR Committee is the Director of OPWDD’s Incident Management Unit.  

Additional Resources:

  • SCIR Membership
  • Part 624 Handbook
  • PROMOTE Materials - OPWDD has embarked on a process, in collaboration with other state agencies and partners, to review and reduce the use of restrictive interventions.  In addition, OPWDD utilizes an innovative Positive Relationships Offer More Opportunities to Everyone (PROMOTE) curriculum to foster culture change and positive relations.