Some Ohio nursing homes pushing back against Esther’s Law

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Esther’s Law went into effect back on March 23rd, which allows people to put video cameras in residents’ rooms at nursing homes. The law has been well received by most nursing homes and their residents, but some facilities are pushing back.

Steve Piskor spearheaded Esther’s Law; the law came to be after his mother was abused at a Cleveland-area nursing home. He says people with relatives in facilities have contacted him, sharing how facilities in two major Ohio cities are now giving stipulations on what kinds of cameras are allowed in residents’ rooms. Piskor says this is directly against the wording of Esther’s Law.

“Esther’s Law is clear on this: the resident tells the nursing home what camera they’re going to use, it doesn’t say the nursing home,” says Piskor. “We took all that away from the nursing home for a reason, so the nursing home has nothing whatsoever to do with this camera law.”

According to Piskor, one nursing home in Cleveland and two in Cincinnati are requiring families install a specific kind of camera and making them pay $200 for installation. Esther’s Law states that families do have to pay for the camera and it’s installation, but Piskor says it should cost significantly less than $200.

“We had one nursing home go so far as to say that it might pick up the conversations of aides in the hallway that is a private conversation,” says Piskor. “I mean, why do you want to keep protecting your aides and privacy and stop protecting residents from abuse? It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”

He calls it nothing but retaliation.

“The same exact camera that’s being used in other states, I demonstrated the camera in the Senate hearings. There was no opposition from anybody in the Senate, from the healthcare association, from the Department of Health, from any nursing home. If you were going to oppose it, that was the time to oppose it, in that Senate hearing. Where were you at? Why are you opposing now that the law passed?”

A Toledo family reached out to Piskor, saying their mother was in a Cincinnati nursing home that was giving them certain rules on the kinds of cameras allowed, and they wanted to fight it. Unfortunately, the mother passed away last week, but the family isn’t giving up.

“They still want to help fight this law even though their mother passed away because it’s something that everybody has been fighting for for the past two years,” says Piskor. “I’ve been fighting for it for 10 years, and I’m not going to give up and let nursing homes get away with anything on this law.”

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