Posted Aug 21, 2013 10:41 pm CDT
San Francisco’s city attorney sent a letter to Nevada officials this week demanding that California cities and counties be repaid for the treatment costs for some 500 psychiatric patients who were given one-way bus tickets to the state.
The practice, dubbed “Greyhound therapy,” cost San Francisco $500,000 in medical care and housing for 20 people shipped to the city, according to a letter from City Attorney Dennis Herrera obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that it occurred in this case,” Herrera is quoted saying. “Here you have a very well-documented case of a state-sanctioned patient-dumping scheme.”
Herrera is demanding that Nevada reimburse his city and other California municipalities. On Tuesday, he sent a letter to Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto threatening a class-action suit alleging misappropriation of public funds from California. In addition to repayment, Herrera is demanding the state adopt interstate transfer rules for patients.
Herrera came up with the 500-patient number by subpoenaing bus company records. He told the Chronicle that the examination revealed names of 500 patients discharged from the state-run Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and sent by Greyhound bus to California since 2008.
“The manner in which these patients were transported was inhumane and unacceptable,” Herrera wrote in the letter. “These patients were transported without escorts; without prior arrangements for a responsible party to receive them at their destination; (and) without adequate provisions of medication or food.”
Herrera began investigating allegations of patient dumping after a series of reports by the Sacramento Bee, which followed the story of James Flavy Coy Brown, 48, who was bused from Las Vegas to Sacramento after being treated at Rawson-Neal with symptoms of psychosis. Brown reportedly had no ties to Sacramento and had no arrangements for housing or care.
Brown, who’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mood disorders, was living homeless in Las Vegas. But while at Rawson-Neal, a doctor told him he would like “sunny California.” He was instructed to dial 911 when he arrived, the Sacramento Bee reports.