San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is accusing Nevada of patient dumping, shipping roughly 500 mentally ill patients to California. He is demanding that Nevada reimburse California cities and counties for the treatment of those patients.
Herrera claims that San Francisco spent $500,000 on medical care, housing, and more for 20 people shipped to the city by the bay. Herrera has threatened to file a class-action lawsuit which would claim that public funds from California were misappropriated unless Nevada reimburses the California cities and counties affected within 20 days.
Herrera’s office said nearly 500 patients were discharged from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, Nevada’s primary state mental facility, and sent by Greyhound bus to California. Twenty-four were penniless and suffering from mental illness; 20 received care in San Francisco.
Herrera said Rawson-Neal “understood and expected that the bused patients would rely on San Francisco’s public health resources. The manner in which these patients were transported was inhumane and unacceptable. These patients were transported without escorts; without prior arrangements for a responsible party to receive them at their destination; (and) without adequate provisions of medication or food.”
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to comment, citing the possible lawsuit.
In its Homeward Bound program, San Francisco gives transients bus tickets, but the transient has to have a willing family member or friend who will provide shelter.
Rawson-Neal was warned by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in April to stop shipping the transients or it could lose its Medicare funding. In August, the federal agency said the hospital was not complying.
Herrera said he thinks patient dumping is not restricted to Rawson-Neal, asserting, “We do have reason to believe that this occurred elsewhere in Nevada. It would be premature to say how widespread it is in other facilities. Our investigation is continuing.”