After Nevada allegedly sent newly discharged psychiatric patients on one-way buses to San Francisco without arrangements for care upon arrival, the city has filed a class action lawsuit against the state following its refusal to reimburse the resulting medical costs.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera of San Francisco filed the lawsuit against the state, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and state health chief Mike Willden on Tuesday. In it, he called for a permanent injunction to prevent Nevada from transferring psychiatric patients to California unless they are residents of the city or county to which they're being transferred, are being sent to family members that will care for them or are being transferred to a facility where treatment arrangements have been made for them.
According to results from an investigation launched in April, 500 patients from the state-run hospital had been sent to California since 2008, with two dozen of them being sent to San Francisco and 20 needing medical care upon arrival, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Last month, Herrera requested that Nevada pay San Francisco approximately half a million dollars to provide the patients housing and care or face a lawsuit after 20 days.
On Monday, Nevada Chief Deputy Attorney General Linda C. Anderson responded to the request, stating that Herrera failed to provide details to support his claim, including how he identified the allegedly dumped patients, according to the Washington Post.
Herrera, however, moved forward with the lawsuit. “What the defendants have been doing for years is horribly wrong on two levels," Herrera said in a statement. "It cruelly victimizes a defenseless population, and punishes jurisdictions for providing health and human services that others won't provide."