The city attorneys for Los Angeles and San Francisco said on Monday they are investigating reports that Nevada's primary mental health facility has shipped more than 1,500 patients to cities across the country while they still needed care.
"This type of conduct is deplorable," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera told KNTV-TV. "Taking advantage of our most vulnerable putting them on a bus with a one way ticket to somewhere with no support."
The Sacramento Bee reported on April 14 that Nevada state records showed Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital has prematurely dispatched an increasing number of patients since 2008 including more than 200 to Los Angeles County, a practice referred to as "patient dumping" or "Greyhound therapy." Nearly 400 patients were allegedly bused out last year to 45 states.
According to the Bee, Nevada Health and Human Services director Mike Willden told state lawmakers in March 2013 that an internal investigation showed no pattern of misconduct, and that new policies have been enacted barring Rawson-Neal from busing patients out without confirming that they had care waiting at their destinations. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) also defended the facility in an interview aired Monday.
"I think there is a good quality of care there," Sandoval said of the hospital. "Mike Willden does a fabulous job. If there's a problem, we're going to correct it."
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich confirmed to KNBC-TV on Monday that his office was also investigating the allegations.
"The reason you dump patients is you want to get out from under the cost of them," Trutanich said. "You jeopardize their safety, and we have no idea what the elements are that these individuals who have been dumped, allegedly have been dumped onto our streets, are suffering from."
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid is conducting an investigation into the hospital's alleged practices, and U.S. Commission on Civil Rights head David Kladney has called for a separate probe.
Watch KNTV's report on the investigations against Rawson-Neal, aired Monday, below.
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