Workers Fired Following Investigation of Nevada Mental Health Facility
On Monday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) announced that an unspecified number of employees at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas have been fired following an investigation of the hospital's practice of busing patients with mental illnesses to California and other states, the Sacramento Bee reports (Reese, Sacramento Bee, 4/29).
Details of Rawson-Neal's Practices
According to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by the Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, the number of patients with mental illnesses sent by the psychiatric hospital to other cities via Greyhound bus increased by 66% from 2009 to 2012.
The Bee found that Rawson-Neal has sent more than 1,500 patients to other cities since July 2008.
According to the review, about one-third of such individuals traveled to California, including:
- 200 who arrived in Los Angeles County;
- 70 who arrived in San Diego County; and
- 19 who arrived in Sacramento.
Last week, city attorneys for Los Angeles and San Francisco announced formal investigations into Rawson-Neal's practices.
Meanwhile, CMS sent a letter to the mental health facility urging officials to correct "serious deficiencies" or potentially lose millions of dollars in federal Medicare funding.
Sandoval said that state officials have implemented a new policy to strengthen oversight of the patient discharge process.
According to state officials, regulations now require two physicians instead of one to approve a discharge order for a patient. In addition, the discharge of a patient now must be approved by a hospital administrator.
Nevada officials also said that, effective immediately, a chaperone must accompany any patient with a mental illness discharged from state facilities and sent to locations outside of Nevada (California Healthline, 4/29).
Comments on Firings
In a statement, Sandoval said, "While the investigation showed the vast majority of patient releases were done correctly, it also revealed policies were not followed by certain individuals."
He said, "All individuals who violated release policies have been or will be disciplined," adding, "These disciplinary actions include terminations effective today."
Sandoval did not provide details on how many workers were fired or what positions they held.The governor said, "I will continue to evaluate the need for further action if necessary" (Sacramento Bee, 4/29). 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.