Full settlement made public today by Herrera’s office after the City’s Board of Supervisors gave its initial approval to agreement in City’s class-action suit against Nevada over ‘patient dumping’ allegations
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 27, 2015)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera today praised the terms of an agreement his office reached with the State of Nevada, which will settle San Francisco’s litigation over psychiatric patient transportation practices. Herrera’s office made the complete settlement terms public today after the City’s Board of Supervisors gave its initial approval to the accord, which also requires approval by the San Francisco Superior Court. Nevada’s Board of Examiners approved the agreement on Oct. 13, 2015.
“I’m pleased we reached an agreement that will assure the well-being of psychiatric patients when they’re transported, and that also offers a model for how jurisdictions can work together to better protect our patients and taxpayers,” said Herrera. “Although much of our litigation involved jurisdictional issues, I want to give credit to the Nevada officials who worked with us to hammer out substantive details of this agreement. I’m grateful especially to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval; Attorneys General Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt; and Richard Whitley, Nevada’s director of Health and Human Services. It took tireless efforts by Nevada and San Francisco leaders and officials to forge this recommended settlement, which will benefit all of the parties involved, and help make sure our most vulnerable receive the care and dignity to which they’re entitled.”
As part of the recommended settlement agreement, Nevada will only provide travel assistance to California for patients who meet appropriate criteria, ensuring that the patients are returning to a home address or to a medical facility or program, and that they will be received or accompanied by a responsible individual. Through the end of 2019, Nevada will also provide San Francisco with a semi-annual report about these patients with information that includes the date of discharge, destination city, and name of individuals at any medical facility that has agreed to receive the patient. The new guidelines address allegations from the 2013 class-action lawsuit Herrera filed against Nevada on behalf of California local governments to which indigent patients were improperly bused.
Both parties also established mutual obligations to improve communications between the appropriate health care agencies in regards to traveling psychiatric patients to identify medical and mental health facilities and programs that the patient may be referred to for follow-up care.
The lawsuit followed an investigation by Herrera’s office, which found that Nevada improperly bused indigent patients from Rawson-Neal Hospital, its state-run psychiatric facility in Las Vegas, without prior arrangements for patients’ care, housing or medical treatment. The hospital improperly discharged and unsafely transported more than two-dozen patients by Greyhound bus to San Francisco between 2008 and 2013, according to Herrera’s investigation. In many cases, patients were transported without adequate food, water or medication, and without instructions or arrangements for their continued care when they reached their destination. Nevada will also pay San Francisco $400,000 as part of the settlement.
The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. State of Nevada et al., San Francisco Superior Court, Case No. CGC-13-534108, filed Sept. 10, 2013. More information is available on the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s website at https://www.sfcityattorney.org/.
- PDF of Nevada psychiatric patient case settlement (Oct. 27, 2015)