City Attorney, D.A. Settle Case of Alleged Patient Dumping

posted by City News Service -

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today their offices have reached a $550,000 settlement with a medical center accused of illegally dumping homeless patients.

 They said their offices began investigating Silver Lake Medical Center, a full-service psychiatric facility with 118 beds and locations in Echo Park and Rosemead, following a whistleblower's tip about alleged patient dumping over an extended time involving numerous alleged victims.

 Lacey said her office subpoenaed Silver Lake Medical's records and allegedly found that on more than 750 occasions, the hospital created documentation signed by mentally ill homeless patients consenting to be dropped off at locations such as the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row, but who were actually dropped off at a bus or train station.

 Feuer said the incidents alleged would violate some federal, state and local laws around discharging patients.

 ``It's shameful for a hospital to be dumping people out and essentially saying, `I don't care what happens to you next,”' Lacey said.

 The settlement directs the facility to spend $550,000 to fund a new Homeless Patient Assistance Program and established new protocols for discharges.

 Feuer and Lacey also announced that they will co-host a summit later this summer focusing on humanely discharging homeless patients, bringing together staff from various Southern California medical facilities, along with health, social services and law enforcement experts.

 Feuer said that ``in this complex world, where homeless patients do present an array of key challenges to every medical provider, we want to have a thoughtful, practical conversation with medical centers, the result of which will be ideally that we never stand here again to announce yet another case.”

 The facility did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 The settlement is the eighth that Feuer's office has reached with a facility accused of patient dumping since he was elected. A similar settlement was reached last week with Avalon Villa Care Center in Willowbrook after it was accused of dumping patients on Skid Row.

 The settlement with Silver Lake Medical Center includes a directive to create new protocols for discharging patients, including providing them with access to critical social services and housing.

 Photo: Getty Images

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