State Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, recently announced that his office will be using hidden camera technology in Western New York nursing homes to detect and prosecute the abuse and neglect of patients.
Twenty-six convictions of nurses, nurse aides and a nursing home owner have been the result of hidden cameras in four cases so far.
Four nursing home workers were found guilty and charged with falsifying records and jeopardizing a resident at a Medford facility earlier this month. And, in May, Highgate LTC Management was fined $15,000 and banned from the nursing home industry due to patient neglect, following a criminal conviction at a facility located in Cortland.
“In several ways, this is a double crime,” said Cuomo at a news conference.
“It’s abuse of disabled and elderly people who reside in nursing homes,” he said. “And many of these homes are paid for by taxpayers. We have taxpayer-financed abuse.”
The initiative involves placing a hidden video camera in resident rooms, with the permission of families or legal representatives but without the knowledge of the nursing home. The video can be monitored in real time to stop abuse if it is occurring and used as evidence to make a case at trial.
“We’ve had reports [of abuse] for many years, but they are hard cases to make,” Cuomo said. “This allows us to make cases we couldn’t make before.”