The recent shocking nursing home incident that happened to the Murray family in Jefferson Georgia at The Bentley Assisted Living has many people pushing to pass legislation allowing for cameras to be installed in patients’ rooms.
The incident involved three assisted living center employees. They were arrested by Georgia police after the trio appeared in a profanity-laden Snapchat video surrounding the Murray family’s dying elderly mother.
The Jefferson Police Department told the Athens Banner-Herald the three women made the June 13 Snapchat video inside the Bentley Senior Living center in Jefferson, Georgia. The employees were in the hospice care room of a 76-year-old resident and were waiting on a hospice nurse. The employees were seen smoking a vape pen and yelling curse words at the camera as the septuagenarian woman laid dying from a recent stroke in the background. The Snapchat video they posted online was labeled “The End.”
Jefferson Police charged all three nursing aides after the video came to light. Mya Moss, Jorden Bruce, and Lizeth Ramirez were all charged with exploitation of a disabled adult.
Across the country, nine states have specific laws on the books which require nursing homes to allow families to install cameras in rooms. Georgia is not one of them.
“Those other states must get it, they must care about people. That’s the only conclusion I can come to,” says state Rep. Demetrius Douglas. The Stockbridge Democrat says he’s tried to pass legislation to allow cameras in nursing home rooms for three years, but it’s gone nowhere. “I don’t understand, what are you trying to hide? If you can’t put a camera in there, what are you trying to hide?” said Douglas. The representative says his bill wasn’t even called up for a hearing.
Georgia’s nursing home industry doesn’t think a law is necessary. Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA) runs the Georgia Center for Assisted Living. In a statement provided to 11Alive, spokesperson Devon Barill explained, “Surveillance cameras observe, they do not protect, and the use of such cameras in a healthcare setting significantly increases the risk of violating HIPPA, Federal and State privacy regulations. We believe true quality improvement occurs through collaborative efforts with legislators and other stakeholders to strengthen the ability of nursing centers to recruit and retain a skilled, competent workforce and further programs designed to educate healthcare professionals, consumers and communities at large on abuse prevention and identification.”
Mike Prieto, the Atlanta attorney that represented Dempsey’s family, and also represents Murray’s says the bill hasn’t stood a chance because the GHCA is influential in the statehouse. “The long-term care lobby in the state of Georgia is the most powerful lobby in the state of Georgia,” said Prieto. Twelve days after the Snapchat was posted, Murray passed away. “I believe that if cameras had been in there, those things would not have happened,” said Brown.
With the growing number of seniors in this country in addition to the many disabled persons in need of support, nursing homes require the assistance of capable staff members to meet the rising demands of these individuals. Far too often, this requirement is not met and tragic results occur. Most of the time the reason for this is that the goal of a nursing home, like any other business, is maximizing profits. Unlike most businesses, however, nursing homes aren’t able to raise the price of their services to increase profits because most of their services are paid for by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, which have specific limits on the amounts of money they will pay for the care provided by the facility. Instead, in order to maximize profits, nursing homes often have to cut expenses. Unfortunately, most expenses are very difficult to cut or control. The one area where expenses are very controllable is staff. By cutting down on staffing levels, facilities can save significant amounts of expenses and thereby create profitability. Unfortunately, nothing is more clearly associated with neglect and abuse than understaffing.
We are here to protect your loved ones and have the experience to handle their case. If you feel someone you love has been injured or has lost his or her life as a result of nursing home neglect, contact the experienced lawyers of Williams DeLoatche at (757) 547-5555 for a free consultation to provide an assessment of your loved one’s case.