States Consider Nursing Home Surveillance Camera Laws
Lawmakers in at least 12 states are considering laws that would make it easier to install video-surveillance cameras that families could use to watch residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, the Wall Street Journal reports. Currently, there are no laws banning such cameras, but many nursing home owners and employees, as well as insurers, discourage their use. Texas has enacted a law that details families' surveillance rights, and Maryland is considering a measure that would require nursing homes to permit residents or their families to install cameras at their own cost. Similar legislation is being considered in Florida. Maryland Del. Sue Hecht (D), who introduced the bill in Maryland, said, "This bill is designed to jump-start what everyone is going to eventually embrace -- an extra eye and ear for an industry that truly needs help." But the nursing-home industry says that video surveillance raises privacy concerns, makes hiring workers difficult and could "touc[h] off a landslide of lawsuits," which could raise insurance premiums (Greene, Wall Street Journal, 3/7).