Providers concede after compromise on Arkansas "Granny cam" law

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Slight changes in an Arkansas bill to allow cameras in nursing homes to monitor patients have helped to appease nursing home operators in the state.

Nursing home representatives now "agree in principle," to the bill because it clearly states the purpose of the law: To prevent abuse and neglect and to monitor the care nursing home residents receive, said Jim Cooper, president, Arkansas Health Care Association.  In addition, according to Cooper, the bill's sponsor Rep. Stephen Bright (R) has said the bill also will include details that protect the right to privacy of all nursing home residents, employees and visitors and protect the facilities' liability with regard to right to privacy when cameras are in place. The intention of previous versions of the bill was unclear, said Cooper.

A final form of HB 1392, or the Willie Mae Ryan Nursing Home Resident Protection Act, nicknamed for a nursing home resident that died from a beating by nursing home employees, is expected to be put before the Arkansas House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor later this week.

The bill also stipulates that although cameras may be placed in the rooms of nursing home residents at the discretion of family members the cost of the devices are the responsibility of the family.

If the bill becomes law, Arkansas will become the third state to enact so-called "granny cam" legislation joining New Mexico and Texas.