Runestad reintroduces legislation to protect nursing home residents

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to better protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect.

Senate Bill 33 would establish the right of a resident in a nursing home facility to have a video monitoring device installed with privacy protections for residents.

“From the COVID-19 pandemic, to isolation in nursing homes, to reports of elder abuse, our seniors have faced a lot in the last year,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “It’s about time we do something to stand up for our most vulnerable.”

SB 33 is very similar to legislation that had passed the Michigan Legislature with bipartisan support in 2020, only to be pocket vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“The governor missed an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Michigan’s seniors,” Runestad said. “But nursing home abuse is still continuing unabated.”

Right now, nursing homes can deny residents the ability to install their own camera in their own room. SB 33 would preserve this right for residents and would give families the peace of mind that their loved ones are being treated properly.

All roommates would have to sign off on the camera, notice of the camera would have to be posted at the door of the facility, and numerous other privacy and consent provisions would have to be in place.

“I will not be detoured from looking out for our most vulnerable,” Runestad said. “I’m asking the governor to work with me quickly to pass desperately needed legislation to protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect.”

SB 33 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services for consideration.