Lawmaker Slams VA For 'Big Brother' Surveillance

Bryant Jordan | | April 12, 2013

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee has filed legislation requiring Department of Veterans Affairs' hospital personnel to have the consent of a patient or other authorized party before setting up surveillance cameras in the veteran’s room.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said in a statement Thursday his “Veterans Privacy Act” is a response to a Tampa VA hospital’s admission it installed a camera within a smoke detector in the room of a brain-damaged patient without informing his family.

The VA’s Office of the Inspector General, in a just-released report, found the hospital’s actions “reasonable” because it was intended to discover “who or what was interfering with nursing care of the patient.” The IG also found that such surveillance cameras are widely used across the VA healthcare system.

But Miller said the actions of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa were bizarre and outrageous.