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Arizona bill promotes use of video monitoring in group homes

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona legislator is encouraging more group homes and intermediate care facilities to install video monitoring systems in their common areas with her new bill.

Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday that HB 2117 is meant to give families who have relatives in these facilities some peace of mind.

“Right now, the group homes can use (cameras) and many do, but they don’t seem to be available for families who have a family member in a ICF situation, so I think it ought to be available,” she said.

Talk of increasing protections for vulnerable people in group homes has been popular in the Arizona government since a severely disabled woman was sexually assaulted and gave birth in December at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix.

After the birth, the Arizona Department of Health Services implemented new safety measures at Hacienda, including more monitoring of patient care areas but not video cameras.

Barto said she was working on the video monitoring bill last year, but people said it wasn’t necessary. Now, the Hacienda incident has revived discussion around it, she said.

The bill would require any facility using video monitoring to establish policies that protect patients’ privacy, including consent requirements.

“We’d obviously have to get the consent of the person and of every person in the group home — obviously, they have to provide consent in those situations where they are currently doing that, so that seems to be not a real barrier,” Barto said.

The next step for the bill is a hearing in the Arizona Health and Human Services committee.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is a way to make (video monitoring) effective and available for families,” she said.

“There’s a lot of attention on this situation, obviously, and other solutions to provide the type of security and safety for patients and clients that just don’t have capacity, or that just are unable to care for themselves or communicate with the world like you and me.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Amy Phol and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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