San Francisco Approves Financial Settlement for Nevada’s Patient Dumping

Friday, November 06, 2015
Homeless on streets of San Francisco (photo: Bob Mack, AP)

San Francisco officials have approved a $400,000 settlement with Nevada for its dumping of mentally ill patients in California.


Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas released 1,500 patients several years ago and put them on buses bound for other states. About a third of the patients ended up in California, where cities such as San Francisco wound up caring for them. San Francisco said it spent $500,000 to service the needs of 24 people who ended up there and the city filed a class action suit against Nevada in 2013.


“Nevada jeopardized the bused patients’ physical and mental health by failing to provide them with adequate food, water and medication during their trip to California,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, according to Courthouse News Service, “and by failing to assure that shelter or medical care had been arranged for the patients at their destinations.”


Patients were given names of homeless shelters or advised to dial 911 when they reached their destinations in California, according to the suit.


The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously October 27 to approve the $400,000 settlement, which included a promise by Nevada officials to stop the practice of dumping its mentally ill people elsewhere.


“Under the agreement, Nevada will be allowed to transfer psychiatric patients to California medical facilities, but only by following new guidelines,” according to Courthouse News Service.


Nevada can still send patients to California but only if they are returning home or to a medical facility. They also must be accompanied by a responsible person or will be met by one upon their arrival. In addition, for the next four years, Nevada must provide San Francisco a twice-yearly report about patients who have been sent to California.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

S.F. Settles Patient-Dumping Suit with Nevada (by Dave Tartre, Courthouse News Service)

Nevada to Pay San Francisco $400k to Settle ‘Patient Dumping’ Suit (by Jonathan R. Tung, JD, FindLaw)

Dear Nevada, #&$% You. Sincerely, San Francisco. (by Gabrielle Canon, Mother Jones)

Nevada Pays S.F. $400,000 and Agrees to Stop Dumping Mentally-Ill Patients (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Judge Rules Nevada Patient-Dumping Bus Ticket Was Only a Suggestion to Leave (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)


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