"Granny Cam" Bill Gathering Support - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

"Granny Cam" Bill Gathering Support

FEBRUARY 22, 2005 - Posted at 7:26 a.m. CST


LITTLE ROCK, AR - Keeping an eye on family members in nursing homes could become easier if a measure supported by advocates of nursing home patients were to become law.  Supporters of the so-called "granny cam" bill gathered at the state Capitol yesterday for a news conference.

A bill called the proposed Willie Mae Ryan Act would allow cameras in the rooms of nursing home residents.  The cameras would be placed at the discretion of family members who may have an interest in watching how their relatives are being cared for at facilities across the state.  The monitoring device would be supplied by the family and would not infringe on the privacy of any roommates of those being watched.

In both 2001 and 2003, similar pieces of legislation died in committee.  But State Representative Steven Bright of Maumelle said legislators may be moved by the story of Ryan, an 81-year-old with Alzheimer's disease who was beaten to death at Dallas County Nursing Home in Fordyce in 2003.

Randy Wyatt, executive vice president of the Arkansas Health Care Association, representing long-term care facilities, said he has some concerns about the bill.  He said nursing homes are basically medical facilities and there is concern about violation of privacy rights.  He said he also opposes a provision that would bar nursing homes from denying admission to people who want "granny cams."  He said such a law could create a problem if the nursing home doesn't want the person for another reason.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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