Missouri residential care, assisted living, intermediate care and skilled nursing facilities would be required to grant resident requests to use electronic monitoring devices in their rooms, as long as the residents provided written consent to the facilities in advance, under two bills recently introduced in the state House of Representatives.
Only two states currently have such laws that apply to assisted living.
Rep. Andrew McDaniel, a Republican, introduced H.B. 398 and H.B. 399 on Jan. 4. A difference between the bills is that H.B. 399 contains a referendum clause and cannot become effective unless approved by Missouri voters. Both bills were read for a second time on Jan. 5, although neither has been scheduled for a hearing.
Both pieces of legislation would establish the Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act, but H.B. 398 is identical to H.B. 1652, which McDaniel introduced in 2016 along with two other similar bills, one of which would have applied to residents of homes for veterans and was not reintroduced this year. At that time, McDaniel’s legislative aide, John LaVanchy, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the intention would be for only one of the bills to be passed into law. As with this year’s bills so far, however, last year’s bills did not advance to committee.
The latest bills call for a resident to obtain permission from any roommate, if applicable, before using a camera or similar device. The device would be required to be placed in a conspicuous location, and a resident or roommate could request that the device be turned off or blocked at any time. That latter stipulation was added to the 2016 bill language after a similar piece of legislation that McDaniel had introduced in 2015 stalled in the Health Committee due to concerns related to privacy and the potential for “frivolous lawsuits” related to the provision of care, LaVanchy said.
Unlike camera legislation passed in Utah last year, H.B. 398 and H.B. 399 allow residents to install devices that connect to the internet, making possible remote monitoring by families. Facilities would be prohibited from accessing recordings without written consent from residents, and anyone caught obstructing, tampering with or destroying a device or recording could be charged with a crime.
At all building entrances and at the entrance to any room where monitoring equipment is in use, facilities would be required install signs to inform visitors.
Only two states, Texas and Utah, have laws mandating assisted living communities to grant resident requests to install monitoring equipment. Five states — Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington — have laws that apply to nursing homes.