Bill Allowing Electronic Monitoring In Nursing Homes Signed Into Law

AARP Commends Governor Rauner and General Assembly for Protecting Vulnerable Illinois Residents

Aug 25, 2015, 12:28 ET from AARP Illinois

CHICAGO, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families who have loved ones in long-term care facilities in Illinois will now be allowed to install electronic monitoring devices in resident rooms, giving peace of mind to families and residents alike. On August 21, 2015 Governor Rauner signed House Bill 2462 into law, helping to ensure that thousands of Illinois' most vulnerable residents are protected against nursing home abuse and neglect.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Greg Harris and Senator Terry Link and spearheaded by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, passed the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support in May 2015. With Governor Rauner's signature, Illinois now becomes one of four states in the nation that explicitly allows for cameras in nursing homes.

"The Illinois Department of Public Health receives approximately 19,000 complaints of abuse and neglect against long-term care residents yearly," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. "AARP commends the General Assembly and Governor Rauner for their leadership on this issue and for helping to protect the state's most vulnerable residents."

House Bill 2462 establishes that residents have the right to purchase and use an electronic monitoring device of their choice that can record or broadcast audio and video. The bill also stipulates that any recording made can only be used for civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings related to the health, safety or welfare of a resident. In addition, the bill includes four main provisions:

  • Cost: Residents must bear the cost of the camera and its installation. The facility is not required to provide Internet service for broadcasting or streaming purposes.
  • Consent: A resident or their guardian must consent to use of a camera in the resident's room. A consent process will be established for residents who lack the ability to fully understand the nature and consequences of electronic monitoring, but don't have a legal guardian. If a resident has a roommate, their consent is also required. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any time.
  • Notice: Residents must notify the facility of their intent to use a recording device and the type of device intended to be used. A sign must be posted outside of the resident's room stating, "This room is electronically monitored." The device must be out in the open in a fixed position, no hidden cameras are permitted.
  • Protections: A facility cannot retaliate or discriminate against any resident consenting to electronic monitoring. Any person or entity, including nursing home staff, is forbidden from knowingly hampering, obstructing, tampering with or destroying an electronic monitoring device in a resident's room without permission. Any person or entity that violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstance. A facility is not civilly or criminally liable for a violation of a resident's right to privacy arising out of any electronic monitoring.

House Bill 2462 takes effect on January 1, 2016; however, the Illinois Department of Public Health has an additional 60 days to provide a consent form for residents to use.