Target: Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich
Goal: Stop transporting patients at mental health facilities out of state without access to continued care.
The City of Los Angeles has launched a criminal investigation against a Las Vegas, Nevada psychiatric hospital that buses its patients out-of-state, allegedly dumping them on the streets with little access to continuing care. Commend City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for pressing forward with the investigation of this case, which will hopefully make patient dumping an untenable option for medical facilities in the future.
Trutanich has launched the investigation into Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital’s alleged practice of sending its patients alone to places like Skid Row in Los Angeles with “with one-way tickets out of town, a small supply of medication and several bottles of Ensure nutritional supplement for the journey,” according to the Sacramento Bee. A month after the Bee performed its own investigation, in which it discovered that the hospital bused 1,500 patients across the nation this way over a five-year period, one third of them to California, Rawson-Neal recently changed its policy by sending patients out-of-state with a chaperone instead.
Though Nevada health officials say that the majority of patients sent out have families and support systems waiting for them, there have been several alleged cases of mentally ill patients getting dumped on the streets, where they have little access to continuing health care.
Past investigations into the hospital have led to settlements with the city involved and fines. Urge Trutanich to take the matter to court instead, where criminal charges can be pressed against people involved in the alleged patient dumping.
Help Trutanich send the message to the state of Nevada and Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital that the practice of patient dumping is unacceptable. Commend the investigation and urge him to press criminal charges.
Dear Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich,
Thank you for launching an investigation into the practice of “patient dumping” in your city by Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital. The practice of busing patients from out-of-state without proper care is unacceptable and cannot continue. We hope that your investigation will lead to criminal charges against the hospital and set an example for other hospitals that continue to practice patient dumping.
Even one case of leaving a patient alone and without a proper support system on the streets is completely inexcusable. Those patients who come to psychiatric facilities are in need of help, and it is the facilities’ job to provide them with the resources they need to get treatment. These patients are human beings who should not be pushed into other states’ health care systems without ensuring that they have the support and resources they need to manage their psychiatric conditions. As you know, it is nearly impossible for some of these patients to access proper care if they are homeless and living on the streets.
Don’t allow this case to lead to a mere settlement and fines. Force the hospital to face criminal charges, and become an advocate for a change in the way other hospitals handle mentally ill patients.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cropped from original image by Neon Tommy via Flickr