An interesting case has just popped up involving a Nevada state-run psychiatric hospital that allegedly bused roughly 500 psychiatric patients to California. The hospital reportedly sent these mentally ill patients to California with one-way tickets—and with no provisions, little to no medication, and no escorts. They were told to seek out care for themselves in cities like San Francisco.
The San Francisco City Attorney is now threatening to sue the state if it does not reimburse California cities and counties for the treatment of such patients.
The case is certainly unusual because it involves so many patients—many of whom were sent in a homeless state with no family or known caregivers awaiting their arrival in California. Patients were told, according to a report, to seek care at San Francisco’s public health clinics, for example.
According to this disturbing report, some jurisdictions suspected that this kind of patient dumping, also known as “Greyhound Therapy,” had been going on, but this appears to be one of the first instances where proof of the practice has been obtained. The San Francisco City Attorney has called this method of transporting vulnerable patients “inhumane and unacceptable.”
The systematic nature of the practice has prompted San Francisco to become involved not only so California can recoup some of the expenses, but also to protect vulnerable patients from hospital negligence.
The city attorney’s warning shines a spotlight on dangerous and neglectful hospital discharge practices that other states have also been suspected of practicing. This action will hopefully put an end to any such negligence and fraud.
Source: SFGate.com, “Nevada could face suit for dumping patients in S.F.,” John Cote, Aug. 19, 2013