LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Nevada is in the spotlight, for what some say is a growing and disturbing problem in our country: “patient dumping”.
That’s when patients are placed on buses and sent to other jurisdictions, even other states, sometimes before they’ve received complete care.
James Flavy Coy Brown lived in Las Vegas for a few years until he turned up at a homeless shelter in Sacramento.
“He was just very scared and lost and confused,” Molly Simones of Loaves and Fishes told a Sacramento television station.
Brown was a patient at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. After being discharged, the hospital put him on a bus with a 3-day supply of medication.
Simones who came across Brown, felt something was wrong and called the Sacramento Bee Newspaper. The paper has not only been reporting on Brown, it also reviewed five years’ worth of bus receipts from the hospital. It found more than 1,500 patients have been sent to other cities via Greyhound bus. By last year, nearly 400 sent to 45 states.
“No other state does this at least that we've found does anything remotely like what Nevada is doing,” said Dan Morain, a Sacramento Bee columnist.
In a Sunday column, Morain put pressure on Governor Sandoval to get involved.
“We think Governor Sandoval ought to help pay. That’s it. It’s pretty simple. This is a guy who the state of Nevada has said was mistakenly sent here, whose violated policy. Well it’s one thing to say that it's a violation of policy and it's another thing to make good on it,” Morain told News 3.
Mary Woods with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement:
"When the Department of Health and Human Services became aware of an incident where policies were not followed, we immediately initiated an investigation. As a direct result of the investigation, a more rigorous review and approval process for patient discharge is now in place."
Carla Jacobs with the California Treatment Advocacy Coalition is appalled by what happened to Brown and what was discovered by the Sacramento Bee.
“If this is systemic abuse in Nevada it is not discharge planning. It is inhumane and it is cruel abuse,” Jacobs tells News 3.
"I'm embarrassed to say that this practice was going on to this degree under my leadership," said Stuart Ghertner, the Former Director of Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services.
California State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is seeking a federal probe.