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Patient Dumping Cases Spark $1 Million Settlement, New Law in Los Angeles

In a California Healthline Special Report, city officials from Los Angeles and a vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California discussed recent cases of “patient dumping” and a new law making the practice a crime.

The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Jeffrey Isaacs, special prosecutor for the city of Los Angeles;
  • Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California; and
  • Jan Perry, member of the Los Angeles City Council.

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has investigated more than 50 cases involving accusations that hospitals left homeless patients on the street.

Last month, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance making patient dumping a criminal offense. Previously, courts could only impose civil penalties.

Lott said the hospital association opposes the law, claiming it could jeopardize hospitals’ ability to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Perry, author of the new ordinance, said some hospitals aren’t complying. She said she witnessed a patient being dumped first hand.

“I was standing there one night, taxi zooms up, dumps a guy out in a hospital gown with a wrist band on,” Perry said. “Tubes coming out of his stomach, I just couldn’t even believe they actually did it in front of us. It was amazing” (Kennedy, California Healthline, 6/9).

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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