SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a major follow-up story on the State of Nevada's controversial psychiatric patient discharge and busing practices, which critics have called "patient dumping," the Sacramento Bee today reported that dozens of the more than 1,000 patients the newspaper was able to identify went on to commit crimes in locales to which Nevada officials bused them. Included among the crimes committed by patients discharged from the state-run Rawson Neal Hospital in Las Vegas were one murder, another attempted murder, detonating explosives in a grocery store, failing to register as a sex offender, and an apparent suicide. The report is available online at http://sacb.ee/1dCtXve.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office is currently pursuing a class action lawsuit against Nevada on behalf of California local governments to which indigent psychiatric patients were improperly bused, issued the following statement in response to today's new revelations.
"Earlier this year, federal auditors identified multiple instances in which Rawson Neal patients were clinically diagnosed as homicidal and suicidal—and yet were still bused within hours to remote destinations," said Herrera. "Today's news from the Sacramento Bee's investigative report confirms our worst fears: that some of these trips led to tragedies. We know from federal audits that Nevada officials bused at least one patient who was diagnosed as homicidal to San Francisco. We also know that their clinical records reflect nothing about where that patient would stay, or access mental health services once here. I hope this report is wake-up call to local governments nationwide that they, too, may be paying a heavy price for Nevada's reprehensible conduct."
Auditors from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is evaluating whether to revoke the hospital's Medicare funding, included extensive reviews of Rawson Neal's confidential clinical records. Some of the resultant auditors' reports, which have been released to the public, contain references to homicidal and suicidal patients whom Nevada officials discharged and bused out of state, including: the March 20, 2013 U.S. CMS Complaint Investigation; and the May 9, 2013 U.S. CMS EMTALA Complaint Investigation. Both are among the records available for download on the San Francisco City Attorney's website at http://sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=519.
Herrera's class action, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Sept. 10, seeks a court-ordered injunction barring Nevada from similar patient discharge practices in the future, and reimbursement for San Francisco's costs to provide care to the patients bused there. If successful, San Francisco's claim for reimbursement of the amounts expended to care for indigent patients bused from Nevada would benefit all California jurisdictions by setting a precedent for restitution to all jurisdictions able to demonstrate claims for damages and restitution substantially similar to San Francisco's. The suit additionally seeks injunctive relief that would apply statewide to prohibit Nevada from continuing to transfer non-residents into California without prior arrangements for patients' care, or in a manner that violates state or federal standards governing patient discharges.
The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. State of Nevada et al., San Francisco Superior Court, filed Sept. 10, 2013.
SOURCE City Attorney of San Francisco