Cameras in Iowa

In recent years, 13 states — including Illinois, Missouri and Minnesota — have passed laws guaranteeing residents the right to deploy cameras inside their room. Iowa is considering allowing cameras to protect residents and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch reported on the tragic case of Dorothy Hathaway. Several months before her death, her daughter asked to install a camera in her mother’s room to document or discourage acts of abuse or neglect. The administrator refused. She claimed the federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA prohibited cameras. Untrue.

Now Diane Hathaway is asking state lawmakers to approve a bill that would prohibit facilities from prohibiting cameras in resident rooms.  The legislation faces stiff opposition from the nursing home industry’s lobbyists. Hathaway says:

“I just don’t understand how people can turn a blind eye to this. But I’m just one person. I can’t fight these lobbyists.”

Residents will determine whether their own privacy is at risk. The legislation has specific provisions to ensure the protection of all residents’ privacy. A resident’s roommate must consent to camera monitoring to ensure the protection of everyone’s privacy. The resident must inform the facility in advance. The video can be used to exonerate nursing homes if they are confronted with false allegations of wrongdoing.