Target: Rawsom-Neal psychiatric hospital
Goal: Condemn a Nevada state psychiatric facility for dumping thousands of poor and mentally ill homeless patients onto buses headed to California
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera recently filed a lawsuit against Nevada because a state psychiatric facility sent thousands of poor and mentally ill homeless patients on a one-way bus to California in order to seek medical care. Herrera claims that providing the necessary treatment and housing would cost San Francisco at least $500,000 – a cost that should be the responsibility of Nevada. The lawsuit will most likely become a class action one and will hold the state of Nevada responsible and thus accountable to reclaim expenses. Homeless psychiatric patients continue to be vulnerable to such abhorrent practices in Nevada. The state must be condemned and held accountable for treating its homeless population with such disregard and distaste.
Nevada officials have agreed to comply with Herrera’s investigation but have announced that they would not repay the city of San Francisco because it failed to show the necessary standing to represent the patients. The dumping of patients by Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital was first exposed in April 2013 during an investigation headed by the San Francisco Bee. The facility purportedly dumped about 100 mentally-handicapped patients to California between July 2012 and February 2013. In the past five years, the facility may have bused as many as 1,500 patients to locations where the patients had no family or friends.
Doctors at the Rawson-Neal facility claimed that Nevada did not have enough funding to provide affordable housing and medical services for the mentally ill and indigent. Sending these patients elsewhere, they claim, would ensure that they receive the treatment they need. The facility doctors discharged patients and gave them three days’ worth of medication, some food, and a one-way bus ticket to California. When this practice was exposed, both local and federal officials were extremely upset. In April 2013, the center for Medicare and Medicaid Services warned the Nevada facility that it would strip it of its federal Medicare funding if they did not drop the practice of patient dumping and cooperate with the conditions stipulated in the Medicare program. One condition includes properly discharging all of its patients.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has promised to revamp the mental health system in Nevada in the upcoming months. He proposed an extra $8 million in mental health funding. Nonetheless, this heinous practice of exporting mentally ill homeless patients must be stopped and condemned. Please sign this petition to condemn such adverse treatment of the indigent and mentally ill.
Dear Rawsom-Neal psychiatric hospital,
We condemn you for dumping thousands of poor and mentally-ill homeless patients onto buses and sending them elsewhere to be housed and treated. Sending them to states such as California where they have no friends or family with a one-way bus ticket is unjust and must be stopped. You need to be held accountable for such heinous treatment of vulnerable patients who already greatly suffer from their impoverished and mentally-handicapped condition.
The state of Nevada must further revamp its mental health care services as well as how the homeless population is treated. As a democracy, all individuals in the United States deserved to be cared for in a just and humane fashion. We urge you to completely halt the abhorrent practice of patient dumping.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jeff Attaway via Flickr