A Las Vegas man now living in San Francisco may have given California officials a breakthrough in their lawsuit against Nevada mental health officials for allegedly shipping hundreds of patients to other states as a cost-cutting measure.
“They shipped me here because they wanted to get rid of me,” David Theisen told CNN in a report aired on Monday. “They should be responsible.”
Theisen said to CNN that officials at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital sent him to San Francisco, where he did not know anyone, after being diagnosed with depression and suicidal thoughts. The hospital allegedly paid for Thiesen’s $85 one-way ticket to California and gave him directions to a homeless shelter in the area and five bags of snacks.
“I was a cook,” Theisen — who now lives in an apartment subsidized by the city — told CNN. “I think she was just trying to be helpful. She said, ‘San Francisco’s got a lot of restaurants.’”
The Sacramento Bee reported in April 2013 that the facility had bused almost 400 patients to 45 states last year.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and his counterpart in Los Angeles, Carmen Trutanich, announced that same month that they were opening a joint investigation into the practice, known as “patient dumping” or “Greyhound therapy.”
“It’s been urban myth or urban legend for decades, that this kind of conduct was occurring. ” Herrera told CNN. “But this is the first instance of which I’m aware [that] we’ve been able to document a state-supported practice not only encouraged but facilitated by state actors.”
CNN reported that the city of San Francisco has filed a class-action lawsuit against Rawson-Neal, calling for it to pay for the cost of providing for 24 patients sent there over a five-year period. Herrera’s office estimates the facility has shipped around 1,500 patients out overall.
Watch CNN’s report, aired on Monday, below.