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Roundup: Homeless Dumping Settlement

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, April 10, 2009, at 01:59PM
Union Rescue Mission_A Ed Fuentes

Surveillance cameras on the Union Rescue Mission were instrumental in the City Attorney's case against College Hospital.

On Wednesday, the City Attorney's office announced a settlement in its case against College Hospital, which it charged with dumping more than 150 mentally ill individuals on Skid Row over the last two years. The hospital will pay $1.6 million and is forbidden from releasing patients into the area.

Here's a roundup of media coverage of the press conference and settlement.

Union Rescue Mission

Press Conference Video

Los Angeles Times

College Hospital to pay $1.6 million in homeless dumping settlement

Doctors at College Hospital diagnosed Steven Davis as suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Doctors at the Costa Mesa mental institution prescribed him numerous drugs to deal with paranoid delusions that had led to an earlier suicide attempt.

But that didn't stop the hospital from hauling Davis into a van and driving him more than 40 miles north to downtown L.A., where they dropped him off outside the Union Rescue Mission. When mission officials complained to the hospital, the van returned and drove Davis a few miles south to another shelter. Davis wandered away without ever entering.

A remedy for patient-dumping? (Editorial)

[Stephen] Davis' experience prompted a yearlong investigation by the city attorney's office, which culminated Wednesday in a court order that should deter hospitals from tossing others like him onto the streets. Just as important, the order could help hospitals manage the challenges that homeless patients with mental illnesses present.

Dumping case highlights dearth of care for homeless mentally ill

More than three years into L.A.'s crackdown on patient dumping downtown, officials have reached settlements with four hospitals and collected millions in payments.

But although enforcement has been aggressive, much less has been done to address the problem at the heart of the issue: If patients can't be left on skid row, where should they go?

CBS' 60 Minutes

Dumped On Skid Row

The first rule in medicine is: do no harm. But doing harm is precisely what some Los Angeles hospitals are being accused of when it comes to patients who happen to be homeless.

As CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, the claim is that hospitals don’t like dealing with homeless patients, who are often uninsured and sometimes unpleasant to treat. So they literally dump them on the streets of Skid Row, even if the patients come from other places in Los Angeles, and are in no condition to fend for themselves.

KPCC

LA city attorney reaches settlement with hospital over dumping patients on Skid Row

L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo says College Hospital Costa Mesa may have dumped as many as 150 psychiatric patients on Skid Row in the last couple of years. His office has reached a settlement with the hospital. KPCC's Brian Watt reports.

Wall Street Journal Health Blog

Hospital Settles Over ‘Dumping’ Homeless Patients

The question now is what to do with these patients. As we noted last year when the city passed an ordinance barring homeless dumping, one complaint from hospitals was that some patients simply refuse to leave. Several hospitals did admit their own failings and were revising their discharge procedures, however.

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