Illinois Legislature Sends “Granny Cam” Bill to Governor
Written by Jeff Meyer on June 25, 2015
There could soon be a new weapon in the fight against elder abuse in the state of Illinois: a new bill has been sent to Governor Bruce Rauner that would pave the way for residents of nursing homes or their families to have cameras installed in their rooms.
Keeping an Eye on Things
Known as the so-called “Granny Cam” Bill, the law would permit camera surveillance of a nursing home resident, provided the family of the resident bears the costs of its installation and maintenance. This would include any costs related to connecting the camera to the Internet in order to facilitate remote monitoring over the web.
According to local CBS Radio affiliate KMOX News, Governor Rauner has yet to issue any statements that would indicate whether he plans to approve the new bill or to veto it. However, an email from the governor’s office stated that he will provide the bill with careful consideration as he would any piece of prospective legislation that crosses his desk.
Several hoops would need to be jumped through on the part of the resident’s family if the governor approves the bill. First and foremost, the law would call for the camera to be placed in an area that would be considered “conspicuously visible.” Moreover, if a resident shares a room, the roommate would need to consent to the camera being placed. In the event that the roommate lacks the legal capacity to give this consent, there is a method under the bill to circumvent this requirement, but the process is lengthy.
Meanwhile, nursing homes would be bound by several ways if the Granny Cam Bill becomes law. In the event that the roommate of a resident denies consent for the camera, the nursing home would be required to accommodate the resident who wants the camera in other ways. Additionally, nursing homes would face steep fines in the event of the denial of any legitimate request or if nursing home staff engage in retaliation or discrimination against the resident for requesting the installation of the camera.
The Need for Better Elder Care
The impetus behind the bill is to stamp out elder abuse, which is considered a growing problem in the United States. KMOX reports that in 2014 alone there were more than 100 reported incidents of elder abuse originating from the state’s nursing homes, including instances of financial exploitation, neglect, and physical abuse. The total number of instances may be even higher after taking into account undocumented elder abuse.
The sponsor of the Granny Cam Bill, Illinois State Representative Greg Harris, says he has hopes that Governor Rauner chooses not to veto the bill. “This bill is about protecting frail and vulnerable seniors in a nursing home and I can’t imagine anyone who would be against this,” Harris told KMOX. Stating that since the governor had owned several nursing homes throughout the course of his business endeavors, Harris added that he hoped Rauner would be cognizant of how important it is to ensure that Illinois seniors are afforded every protection they can be in order to ensure their safety and to provide their families with peace of mind.
If the governor signs the bill into law, Illinois will be one of only six states with similar laws on the books. However, if you live in a state that does not have such a law and you feel one of your loved ones residing in a nursing home may be being subjected to elder abuse, you can contact your state’s Elder Abuse Hotline or a reputable elder care attorney.