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article imageNevada agrees to pay San Francisco for mental patient transfer

By Nathan Salant     Oct 13, 2015 in Health
San Francisco - Nevada will reimburse San Francisco $400,000 for the cost of caring for 24 homeless indigents who were sent to the city with one-way bus tickets from a state psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas.
Nevada's governor, Brian Sandoval, said at a new conference last week that a lawsuit filed by San Francisco challenging the since-discontinued practice of "patient dumping" had been settled.
The agreement, which requires the state and the city to follow a list of "best practices" when transferring patients, still must be ratified by Nevada's Board of Governors and San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.
“We look forward to working with California to ensure all patient transfers to and from both states are managed using these best practices and adhering to conditions detailed in the agreement,” Sandoval said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who filed the lawsuit after the practice of patient dumping was exposed by the Sacramento Bee newspaper, declined to comment on the settlement.
The Bee reported in 2013 that Nevada's main psychiatric facility, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, had handed a bus ticket to Sacramento, California's state capital, to a 48-year-old patient who arrived disoriented and without any arrangements for care.
The hospital reportedly told the patient to call 911 when he arrived, the newspaper said.
Subsequent reports revealed that Nevada had sent hundreds of psychiatric patients from Rawson-Neal to California, including an account of a blind and deaf man left to fend for himself in San Francisco
Herrera's lawsuit alleged that San Francisco had spent $500,000 to house and care for 24 patients who had been sent to the city by bus.
The Bee expose resulted in consequences for Rawson-Neal, which lost its accreditation temporarily and was threatened with a cutoff of Medicare funding.
The hospital improved its procedures and has since been restored to full status.
Sandoval called the settlement a validation of Nevada's reforms at Rawson-Neal over the past two years.
But Nevada had tried and failed several times to get San Francisco's lawsuit dismissed.
Nevada officials had accused cities in California, San Francisco in particular, of similarly sending state mental patients across the state line.
In fact, San Francisco does have a program called Homeward Bound that gives tickets to transients.
But city officials testified that they ensure that people being transferred have family members or friends with resources at the destination.
More about San Francisco, California, Nevada, Psychiatric, Patients
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