On Wednesday, May 26, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.’s bill S.1035A officially passed both the Senate and Assembly, and will now be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk to either be signed into law or vetoed.
The bill — also known as Fred’s Law — if signed into law, would require general hospitals to allow individuals with disabilities to have an essential support person accompany them for the duration of their hospitalization, even during a pandemic situation like COVID-19.
Addabbo drafted the bill after hearing the story of Fred D'Amico, an adult with autism, who passed away at the hospital on March 31, 2020 after medical staff would not allow his mother or father, who were Fred’s life-long caretakers, to be with him at the hospital to advocate on his behalf due to COVID restrictions.
“After hearing Fred’s story and listening to the pain his family went through, I knew I had to try and do something so no other family has to experience this horrible situation,” Addabbo said. “No patient, especially one with a disability, should be left alone at the hospital with no one there to communicate with doctors and explain their medical history.”
Addabbo was joined by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato — who sponsored Fred’s Law in the Assembly — in pushing for this legislation to pass.
“I am so proud that we were able to get justice for the D’Amicos today,” Pheffer Amato said. “No other family will ever have to go through what the D’Amicos did because of this legislation, and that’s a huge step forward. When the Governor signs this bill, people with disabilities will be able to have their advocates with them during hospitalizations, even during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic — allowing for peace of mind, and proper advocacy and decision making for the families. I want to thank Senator Addabbo for bringing this bill to our attention, and for his tireless work pushing this in the State Senate.”
Now that the bill has passed the Senate and the Assembly, Addabbo and Pheffer Amato, along with bill co-sponsor Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, will hold a press conference to request that Governor Cuomo sign this bill into law.
The press conference will be held on Friday, June 4 at 12:30 p.m. at the Shops at Atlas Park, located at 8000 Copper Avenue in Glendale, with Addabbo, Pheffer Amato, Rajkumar, the D’Amico family and community activists.
“We will come together as a community and respectfully request that Governor Cuomo sign this important piece of legislation into law,” Addabbo said. “I want to thank my colleagues Assemblymembers Pheffer Amato and Rajkumar for their efforts in helping this bill get to the Governor’s desk.”