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Date ArticleType
4/30/2018 Regulatory
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: The Legality of Surveillance Cameras in Nursing Homes

By Christopher Murray, President, Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services

In recent years, many nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have looked to technology to aid them in supervising their residents. But while video surveillance can help a facility to keep an eye on what’s going on in their home, using these devices lawfully is a tricky task that requires compliance on multiple fronts, otherwise the home leaves itself open to malpractice claims.

Congregate living facilities (such as nursing homes) are HIPAA-covered entities, and thus must comply with HIPAA regulations. As “visual information” is considered part of a patient’s medical information, it is protected and must be kept confidential. Additionally, one of the core legal rights of nursing home residents is the right to privacy in their rooms, in treatment, and in communications, meetings, and visits. Other key topics in video surveillance include consent—some residents may not consent or be able to consent to being recorded—and security, as network-connected security cameras, if breached, present significant safety and privacy issues to nursing homes and their residents.

Several jurisdictions have made or are in the process of crafting legislation to permit surveillance cameras in public and private facility areas. These laws have varying restrictions, including voluntary installations, residents and their families bearing financial responsibility, requiring consent from visitors and roommates, and prohibiting discrimination against residents with cameras.

Efforts to implement surveillance cameras are ultimately pro-resident, but any facility looking to use video surveillance must take care not to sacrifice privacy in the name of safety. Explore more information on
implementing surveillance cameras in nursing homes here.

Please contact Christopher Murray at chris.murray@caitlin-morgan.com if you have questions or need more information.