$400,000 Patient Dumping Settlement Expected to be Finalized by End of 2015

A tentative $400,000 settlement of a patient-dumping lawsuit filed against Nevada by the city of San Francisco is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, according to a court document.

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court by City Attorney Dennis Herrera in 2013 alleged that officials at the state-run Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas sent 24 mostly indigent, mentally ill patients to San Francisco with one-way bus tickets and no other arrangements between 2008 and 2013.

Some of the patients were told to call 911 upon arrival in San Francisco, others were given no instructions and 20 of them required medical care shortly after their arrival, some within hours of getting off the bus, the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit said the city spent an estimated $500,000 on medical care, shelter and welfare assistance for the patients. Most were not San Francisco residents and had no family members in San Francisco, according to the suit.

The tentative $400,000 settlement was announced Monday by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who said it “will bring an amicable resolution to this matter.”

The pact must be approved by the Nevada Board of Examiners and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The reaching of a tentative agreement was also disclosed in a case management statement filed in Superior Court on Friday by lawyers for San Francisco and Nevada.

The attorneys said in the filing they expect the approval process by the two boards to take up to three months to complete, after which the two sides will promptly ask a Superior Court judge to approve the settlement and dismiss the lawsuit.

The filing did not give any details of the settlement.

Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey said the city’s lawyers will have no comment until Nevada takes final action on the proposed settlement.

The Nevada Board of Examiners is made up of the state’s governor, attorney general and secretary of state. It reviews claims for payments that must be funded through appropriations or authorization by the state Legislature.

Sandoval said the settlement is likely to be on the agenda of the board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 13 in Carson City.

The governor said, “The settlement will also validate the patient management best practices and procedures which Nevada has had in place for two years.”

State and federal reviews of practices at the hospital began in 2013 after the Sacramento Bee published an investigative series on the patient dumping. Last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded the hospital had corrected a set of identified deficiencies and could continue to receive Medicare funding.

Herrera’s lawsuit alleged the hospital transferred about 1,500 patients to other states between 2008 and 2013, including nearly 500 sent by Greyhound bus to various California cities and counties.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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