San Francisco threatens to sue Nevada for releasing hundreds of psychiatric patients to California

The city of San Francisco is threatening Nevada with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly giving 500 poor and homeless psychiatric patients one-way bus tickets to California.

In a letter addressed to Nevada Attorney General Catherine Masto,
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera threatened to file a
lawsuit unless a settlement is made within 20 days. The city is
asking Nevada to reimburse the $500,000 that San Francisco spent
on medical care, housing, and other assistance for those
patients.

If Nevada fails to pay and adopt interstate transfer rules that
would prevent ‘patient dumping,’ San Francisco will take legal
action.

Herrera’s office subpoenaed bus company records, obtaining a list
of nearly 500 patients who were discharged from the state-run
Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and sent to
California on a Greyhound bus. An earlier report found
that 1,500 patients have been thrown on buses and sent out of
state since 2008. Many of them became homeless, and one-third of
them wound up in California.

Some of the patients were bused to cities where they had no
family, friends, or housing — a practice that Herrera wants the
state of Nevada to prohibit.

“The manner in which these patients were transported was
inhumane and unacceptable,”
Herrerra wrote in the letter,
which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. “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.”

Twenty-four of the patients who were sent to San Francisco were
indigent, homeless, or suffering from mental illness, which
forced the city to cover the costs of further care, according to
Herrera.

The psychiatric hospital “understood and expected that the
bused patients would rely on San Francisco’s public health
resources,”
Herrera added, noting that some of the patients
were directed to seek medical care at public health clinics in
their new cities.

The actions of the San Francisco Attorney General’s office are
the culmination of a four-month investigation into Nevada’s
practice of ‘patient dumping,’ which is sometimes referred to as
‘Greyhound treatment.’

The practice was first exposed by the Sacramento Bee, which told
the story of a 48-year-old man who ended up in Sacramento,
disoriented and confused about his whereabouts. The patient,
James Flavy Coy Brown, had been sent away by Rawson-Neal on a
Greyhound bus, even though he had no friends or family in
Sacramento. Hospital staff left him with nothing more than a few
peanut butter crackers and a three-day supply of medication for
schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. When the former psychosis
patient arrived at a Sacramento homeless shelter, he was hearing
voices that were telling him to jump off a bridge or get himself
arrested just so he had a place to sleep, Brown recalled. 

“I said, ‘I don’t want to leave Nevada,’” Brown told ABC
News in May, recalling the day that he was sent away without his
Social Security card, food stamps, or Medicaid card. “[The
doctor] said, ‘California sounds like a really nice state. I
think you’ll be happy there.’”

This month, Brown filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in Nevada,
which seeks class-action status on behalf of the 1,500 people
that were allegedly bused to other states. Herrera’s letter was
filed shortly thereafter. While there is evidence that more than
1,000 patients at Rawson-Neal were sent away, Herrera believes
the practice may have also occurred at other state hospitals.

“We do have reason to believe that this occurred elsewhere in
Nevada,”
he wrote. “It would be premature to say how
widespread it is in other facilities. Our investigation is
continuing.” 

Republished from: RT