LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- California health officials say they can't find a psychiatric patient who they believe was shipped from Las Vegas's Rawson-Neal hospital. The case is the latest fallout in our patient dumping investigation.
The news comes just one day after the governor announced a new policy requiring chaperones for psych patients discharged from our local mental hospital.
Orange County Health Officials are on high alert to find this patient, who goes by the first name of Monica. The patient was transported to California about two and a half weeks ago. Monica may be one of the most recent cases of the hundreds of mental health patients bused out of state by Nevada's Rawson-Neal hospital. Health specialists say she may not be the only person whose location is unknown.
Orange County’s behavioral health director Mary Hale explained at this week's Orange County board of Supervisors meeting that her team cannot find Monica.
“Monica was recently sent to Anaheim, I believe, on a bus, and sent here,” said Hale. “We went out. All we had was a first name.”
Hale tells News 3 that if Nevada's new policy of busing patients out of state accompanied by chaperones had been put into effect earlier than yesterday, Monica's whereabouts would likely now be known. Instead, they join a number of California cities trying to account for Nevada mental health patients given one-way greyhound bus tickets out of state with possibly no help waiting for them on the receiving end.
Hale said Monica's story is not the only troubling case they've encountered.
“We have not come across Monica,” said Hale. “I've asked all of our staff. and my understanding is once, a couple of years ago, we came across an individual who had come from Nevada. She was found in New Port Beach, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and we were able to link her with treatment.”
Hale says since the allegations of patient dumping cases have popped up, she's asked Nevada's health officials to inform her staff whenever they plan on sending a psych patient to their county, even if the psych patients have a chaperone.
The department of health and human services has not responded to requests for more information about their new busing policy. We are waiting for the results of a federal investigation where violations by Rawson-Neal hospital could result in the loss of federal funding.