HB158 An Act Relative to Ensuring the Safety of Residents of Facilities Under the Authority of the Department of Mental Health & the Department of Developmental Disabilities

Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), on behalf of our member hospitals, health systems, physician organizations and allied healthcare providers, appreciates the opportunity to submit comments regarding HB158, An Act relative to ensuring the safety of residents of facilities under the authority of the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

MHA opposes this legislation, which would mandate the use of security cameras at all entrances, exits, and common areas of mental health facilities. While the hospital community is strongly committed to efforts to support the security of patients and staff, we are concerned about the potential, and very significant, privacy concerns and stigmatization this bill poses for patients seeking care for acute mental illness. MHA instead encourages the committee to consider a study that would look at medical ethics and patient rights related to such video surveillance in facilities that care for patients with acute mental illness.

 Thank you for the opportunity to offer testimony on this matter. If you have any questions regarding this testimony, or require further information, please contact Michael Sroczynski, MHA's Senior Vice President of Government Advocacy at (781) 262-6055 or msroczynski@mhalink.org