San Francisco Sues Nevada for Alleged Patient Dumping

SAN FRANCISO – City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed a class action against the State of Nevada on behalf of California local governments, claiming indigent psychiatric patients were improperly bused from the state-run Rawson-Neal Hospital in Las Vegas. The lawsuit 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.

The litigation makes good on Herrera’s legal threat in a formal demand letter to Nevada’s Attorney General last month, alleging that Rawson-Neal improperly discharged and unsafely transported at least two-dozen patients by Greyhound bus to San Francisco between 2008 and 2013. Herrera’s investigation established that patients were transported without adequate food, water or medication, and without instructions or arrangements for their continued care when they reached their destination. Twenty of the patients required medical care shortly after their arrival in San Francisco—some within hours of getting off the bus—at a cost of approximately $500,000 to City taxpayers for medical care, shelter, and basic necessities.

“Homeless psychiatric patients are especially vulnerable to the kind of practices Nevada engaged in, and the lawsuit I’ve filed today is about more than just compensation—it’s about accountability,” claims Herrera in a press release.“What the defendants have been doing for years is horribly wrong on two levels: it cruelly victimizes a defenseless population, and punishes jurisdictions for providing health and human services that others won’t provide. It’s my hope that the class action we’re pursuing against Nevada will be a wake-up call to facilities nationwide that they, too, risk being held to account if they engage in similarly unlawful conduct.”

Nevada officials told CBS News they reviewed nearly 1,500 cases involving patients being transported out of state and determined that only 10 might have been improperly discharged.

Read the class action court documents.

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