Nevada governor denies systematic 'dumping' of psych patients out of state
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval responded Tuesday to allegations that the state is dumping psychiatric patients in other states after they're discharged, denying systematic wrongdoing but saying Nevada officials had taken steps to avoid future errors.
Sandoval said his administration launched three separate investigations after he learned that at least one patient was improperly discharged from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. He said disciplinary actions were taken and a new policy was implemented weeks ago to strengthen oversight.
"Let me be clear, improperly discharging one patient is one patient too many," said Sandoval, a Republican. "I take the concerns regarding Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital very seriously and it is not the policy of the State of Nevada to engage in 'patient dumping' as been alleged by some.
"Rather, patients have a right, and a desire, to return home to their friends and families," he said.
The response came nearly two months after The Sacramento Bee (http://bit.ly/17eemj4 ) first published the story of James Flavy Coy Brown, who was discharged from Rawson-Neal to a Greyhound bus and arrived disoriented in Sacramento in mid-February.
Subsequent Bee articles described how more than 1,500 discharged Rawson-Neal patients were transported by Greyhound bus to locations nationwide between 2008 and last March.
On Monday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced he was launching an investigation into whether Nevada is systematically sending patients out of state.
"Assuming the reports are true, Nevada's practice of psychiatric 'patient dumping' is shockingly inhumane and illegal," Herrera said in a statement. "We intend to investigate these reports thoroughly, and I am inviting input from providers of services to San Francisco's homeless, who may be willing to volunteer evidence and testimony to assist the city in a potential civil action."
He said the city was prepared to sue to recoup any costs or damages his office could identify.