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Los Angeles launches Las Vegas patient-dumping probe

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Updated: 4/24/2013 5:50 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The Los Angeles City Attorney's office confirms their team is launching an investigation into alleged patient dumping cases from the Nevada-run Rawson-Neal hospital. Los Angeles is the second city in California, after San Francisco, to announce a probe. The city attorney, Carmen Trutanich, compared patient dumping to human trafficking and he said he's not taking the allegations lightly.

The announcement of the probe came as the state-run hospital awaits word from the feds if they will lose funding for violating any federal regulations by transporting patients from Rawson-Neal hospital out of state.

Trutanich’s office said as many as 150 Nevada psychiatric patients were given one-way Greyhound bus tickets to Los Angeles since 2008. Reports say some of the patients given tickets may be on skid row. Others are nowhere to be found, and California officials say they are working around the clock to find those patients.

But Mike Willden, Nevada's director of public health, defended Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital to Jon Ralston of Ralston Reports.

“People think we spin the wheel and patient dump,” Wilden said. “These are patients who have the right to self-determination, they participate in their discharge plan, and if policies are followed correctly, we believe they can be safely transported their home community. “

Even Willden admits policy was not followed properly, prompting multi-state-and-city investigations and reviews of more than 1,500 cases of patients shipped out of state to every corner of the country since 2008. Willden says there is no trend of so-called patient dumping, but he adds there may be more than one case of staff failing to go by the books. The full picture is expected to come out with the results of thorough investigations, leaving the Los Angeles city attorney promising justice if there was negligence or criminal misconduct.

Governor Brian Sandoval released a statement saying, in part:

"Let me be clear, improperly discharging one patient is one patient too many. I take the concerns regarding Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital very seriously and it is not the policy of the state of Nevada to engage in 'patient dumping,' as been alleged by some. Rather, patients have a right, and a desire, to return home to their friends and families.”


Sandoval’s full statement can be found by following this link.

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