Nevada being sued for allegedly 'dumping' homeless with mental illnesses onto buses to other states


The City of San Francisco is suing the state of Nevada for allegedly sending more than 1,000 mentally ill homeless patients on buses to California and telling them to find care elsewhere.

The city's attorneys claim that more than $500,000 in public funds in San Francisco alone were spent on housing and treating patients dumped on them by Nevada.

The lawsuit may become a class action as other cities in California and other states join in. The allegation is that Nevada's policy, when police arrest the homeless and vagrant for misdemeanor crimes, was to send them for psychiatric evaluation (required by law) and, if they were found to have mental illnesses, buy them a bus ticket and send them to another state to find care.

Nevada has not denied the claim, but has not substantiated it either. Their attorney says they are cooperating with the court's and San Francisco's investigation, but do not see any substantiation for the city's claim of lost funds.

The lawsuit stems from an investigative report in an April edition of the Sacramento Bee. That report focused on one facility in Nevada, the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, and found at least 100 patients they say were bused to California between July of 2012 and February of 2013, and estimates that the hospital systematically did the same for as many as 1,500 patients over five years.

The patients were discharged from the hospital and escorted to the bus terminal, then given a ticket, some snacks for the road, and two or three days' worth of medications. They were instructed to find care once they arrived at their new destination and may have even been told which facilities to report to.

Nevada has since fortified its funding for indigent mental health care, and the hospital in question has been censured by Medicare and faces federal investigation.


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