San Francisco Probes ‘Dumping’ of Nevada’s Mental Cases

San Francisco will investigate allegations that Nevada got rid of hundreds of mentally ill poor people by putting them on buses and sending them out of state to destinations including the Northern California city.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said his office has opened a formal investigation and is seeking public records from the Nevada Health and Human Services Department, according to a letter yesterday to Mike Willden, that agency’s director.

The investigation follows reports in the Sacramento Bee newspaper that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, a mental-health facility controlled by the state, put more than 1,500 indigent mental patients on Greyhound Lines Inc. buses and sent them to cities throughout the U.S. over the past five years, with a third going to California, including at least 36 to San Francisco, Herrera said in a statement.

“Assuming the reports are true, Nevada’s practice of psychiatric ‘patient dumping’ is shockingly inhumane and illegal,” Herrera said. “We’re prepared to litigate aggressively on behalf of San Francisco and its taxpayers to recover whatever costs or damages we’re able to identify.”

While the hospital had procedures “to assist individuals with mental illness without resources for discharging planning out of state,” a state review found a “documentation error,” Willden said in a statement. The hospital has taken steps to review out-of-state discharges “to ensure the quality of discharge planning and after-care plans,” he said.

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