L.A. City Attorney Reaches Settlement in ‘Patient Dumping’ Case
College Hospital has agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle charges that two of its campuses improperly discharged and transported about 150 psychiatric patients to homeless shelters in downtown Los Angeles, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office announced Wednesday, the AP/Kansas City Star reports (Tayefe Mohajer, AP/Kansas City Star, 4/8).
City officials alleged the infractions, by College Hospital facilities in Costa Mesa and Cerritos, occurred between 2007 and 2008.
The process was discovered by state officials after a Medicaid beneficiary diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder was treated at the Costa Mesa campus and then taken in a hospital van more than 40 miles to downtown Los Angeles and dropped off at a homeless shelter.
Officials at the shelter complained to the hospital about its action.
The van returned and dropped Davis off at a second shelter, but Davis walked with away and did not enter the shelter.
City prosecutors then uncovered what they described as the largest case of so-called patient dumping that they have encountered, according to the Los Angeles Times (DiMassa/Winton, Los Angeles Times, 4/9).
Under the settlement, College Hospital will give $1.2 million to charities that care for the mentally ill and homeless and pay about $400,000 in civil penalties (AP/Kansas City Star, 4/8).
College Hospital also will have one year to establish written protocols for releasing patients, including locating resources to care for them and obtaining voluntary consent before patients are transported.
The two facilities will be barred from taking patients to any homeless shelter within a "patient safety zone" set up in downtown L.A. (Perkes, Orange County Register, 4/8).College Hospital attorney Glenn Solomon said that the hospital denies any wrongdoing and that its actions never amounted to "homeless dumping." He added that the hospital agreed to the settlement to establish a workable policy for dealing with homeless patients in the future (Los Angeles Times, 4/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.