Los Angeles Supervisors Approve Changes to Discharge Policies for Homeless Patients
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to approve a plan to modify county hospitals' policies for discharging homeless patients to ensure access to needed services, the Los Angeles Times reports (Winton/DiMassa, Los Angeles Times, 11/30).
The board on Tuesday said it would investigate a report released by the Los Angeles Police Department accusing three hospitals and suburban law enforcement agencies of "dumping" homeless people, criminals and people with substance abuse problems in downtown Los Angeles (California Healthline, 11/29).
Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who introduced the plan, also called for a pilot program that would assign caseworkers to county hospitals to help homeless patients when they are ready to be discharged.
Antonovich said that although the changes only will apply to county-run hospitals, private medical centers also should address the problem. He added that additional steps must be taken to ensure that patients in need of mental health services have access to care, which could require changes to state law.
County health and mental health services, public social services, and sheriff's departments must report back to the board within 30 days to verify that the changes have been implemented (Los Angeles Times, 11/30).