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Group calls for investigation of patient dumping from Nevada psychiatric hospital

The Mental Health Association of Portland is asking Oregon's Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to inquire into a Nevada state psychiatric hospital that has been accused of dumping patient's in surrounding states. Below is the letter written to the Attorney General asking for the inquiry.

"To: Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum:

The Mental Health Association of Portland has followed the case of James Flavy Coy Brown, who was released from Nevada's Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital without discharge planning and transported by bus to Sacramento, where he was found, suicidal and confused, at a homeless services complex.  He said he knew no one in Sacramento, and the doctors at Rawson-Neal had advised him to call 9-1-1 when he arrived. This practice is well-known in the psychiatric world as “dumping” or “patient dumping.”  It is harmful, irresponsible and rejected by any well-managed public hospital system.

We have now learned San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against the State of Nevada, Rawson-Neal, and state mental health administrators, claiming hospital personnel knowingly directed the transportation of 24 persons from Nevada to San Francisco without discharge planning. The suit asks for an injunction to halt the practice of patient dumping, as well as payment for costs of care for those persons, which have been significant.  The suit also alleges that besides the 24 patients sent to San Francisco, over 500 were sent to various other California cities and approximately 1,000 to other states nationwide, conceivably including Oregon.

We request your office investigate whether Rawson-Neal -- or other psychiatric hospitals in Nevada or elsewhere -- have irresponsibly transported persons to Oregon without discharge planning or follow-up.  We ask your office to determine facts, and if you find this sort of action from Nevada or other states affecting Oregon, that you follow Herrera’s model and file for injunctive relief and damages against the originating state and hospital administrators to cease this terrible practice.  We also ask that you inform attorneys of any Oregon municipalities that have been destinations for patient dumping, and advise them of their legal options.

(Please note that, although patient dumping was once a routine practice in Oregon private and public hospitals, the practice seems to have abated in recent years, and we are currently unaware of any patients being transported from Oregon to other states.)

 It is important you determine the following: 

  • Were persons transported without appropriate discharge planning from Rawson-Neal Hospital to Oregon?
  • Were persons transported without appropriate planning from private hospitals, clinics, or shelters in Nevada to Oregon?
  • Were persons transported without appropriate planning from public or private hospitals, clinics, or shelters in other states to Oregon?
  • Are Oregon public social services, such as public hospitals, publicly funded agencies, shelters and emergency housing providers, impacted by out-of-state patient dumping?
  • Are Oregon city or state police, county deputies or jails, county parole officers, state or county courts impacted by out-of-state patient dumping?
  • Are Oregon businesses impacted by out-of-state patient dumping?
  • Were former patients of out-of-state hospitals who are now residents of Oregon harmed by patient dumping?

For your reference, here are two articles on Herrera’s lawsuit:

Thanks!

 Jason Renaud 

Mental Health Association of Portland

Board Secretary 

www.mentalhealthportland.org"