House of Representatives

Bill to Allow Long-Term Care Monitoring Passes House


5/11/2020 3:37:00 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday passed the Barbara E. Hoover Act that will extend electronic monitoring of family members to long-term care facilities.

Senate Bill 1739, authored in the House by State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa and State Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, allows for monitoring that is currently allowed in nursing homes to be utilized in other nursing facilities, assisted living centers and continuum of care facilities. The measure also defines in statute the term representative of a resident.

"The necessity of this bill was made all too clear in the recent COVID-19 pandemic," Lawson said. "Many nursing homes and other long-term care facilities had to stop visits to keep their residents safe, but family members and guardians lost the ability to check on the welfare of their loved ones or those placed under their care. This bill rectifies that going forward to ensure quality of care for our must vulnerable citizens. Residents of these facilities deserve to know that their families and advocates are able to check on their care and communicate concerns on their behalf."

Sen. Leewright said the bill is supported by AARP, the Oklahoma Silver-Haired Legislature and the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging.

"I filed this legislation because of a constituent who was threatened with eviction from their long-term care facility if the family didn’t remove the video equipment they’d installed to monitor the care of their loved one," Leewright said. "This legislation clarifies current law to ensure all long-term care facilities are prohibited from evicting or otherwise retaliating against residents whose families use video equipment for additional safety and security. With COVID-19 causing such facilities to bar visitors, it highlights the importance of being able to use video monitoring to verify the well-being of relatives. I thank the House for joining us in getting this legislation a step closer to becoming law."

State Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, presented SB1739 on the House floor Monday as Lawson was working by remote after the birth of his newborn daughter.

"While nothing can replace being with loved ones in person, this important measure is helpful in this difficult time as it allows for family members to check on loved ones in real time," Hilbert said.

The bill passed the House by a unanimous vote of 97-0. It previously passed the Senate by a unanimous vote of 46-0. It now moves to the governor’s desk for his consideration of being signed into law.