August 22, 2013
By Melissa Gray, CNN
San Francisco on Wednesday threatened to sue Nevada over the practice of “patient dumping,” in which the state allegedly sent hundreds of indigent mentally ill patients on one-way trips to California.
In a letter to Nevada’s state attorney general, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera threatened a class-action lawsuit, saying Nevada’s state-run psychiatric hospital Rawson-Neal sent two dozen patients to his city and hundreds more to other spots in California without any arrangements for care once they arrived.
“As part of my office’s investigation, we have obtained the names of the almost 500 patients whom Rawson-Neal discharged and sent by Greyhound bus to California since April 2008,” Herrera says in his letter to Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
Herrera said San Francisco has spent at least $500,000 on medical care, housing and subsistence grants for the patients since they arrived from Rawson-Neal.
A spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general’s office, Jennifer Lopez, said the office received the letter and was working on the matter.
“We cannot comment further on pending litigation,” she said.
The Sacramento Bee newspaper first reported on the practice in March when it told the story of former Rawson-Neal patient James Flavy Coy Brown, 48, who was sent on a 15-hour bus ride to Sacramento despite knowing no one in the area, never having visited, and having no arrangements for his care, housing, or medical treatment.
Rawson-Neal put Brown in a taxi to the Greyhound bus station with a one-way ticket, snacks, and a three-day supply of medication to treat his schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, the paper reported.
Brown said he was told to call 911 when he arrived. He was “completely confused” with no idea why he was sent to Sacramento, a social services worker told the Bee. Brown disappeared in Sacramento, according to the newspaper, and his whereabouts remain unknown.
In April, after reports that Rawson-Neal bused more than 1,500 psychiatric patients to locations across the United States, Herrera’s office launched an investigation to find out whether any of the 31 Greyhound bus tickets the hospital bought for trips to San Francisco were for improperly discharged patients, a statement from the city attorney said.
The investigation discovered 24 patients were sent to San Francisco, including some who made multiple trips, and that 20 sought and received emergency medical care once they arrived, Herrera’s office said.
That was just San Francisco, however. Herrera’s office said it later found that 500 Rawson-Neal patients were sent to locations throughout California.
The alleged busing of patients “unlawfully burdened California local government resources … in order to provide care and services which Nevada was legally obligated to provide to its own indigent residents,” Herrera’s office said in a statement.
“While our prospective litigation asserts the rights of California taxpayers, it’s equally necessary to protect society’s most vulnerable from continued institutional abuse,” Herrera said. “Homeless psychiatric patients are particularly defenseless from the kind of lawless ‘patient dumping’ practices Nevada officials engaged in.”
Herrera said Nevada can avoid a lawsuit if it reimburses California local governments for the cost of taking care of the patients and adopts binding protocols to end the busing practice, his office said. Nevada must respond to the offer by September 9.
Man Left At Dog Track Is Back Home — Daughter Of Alzheimer’s Patient Not Cooperating With Investigators, Police Say
March 26, 1992
By Carol Ann Riha
PORTLAND – An 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient who was dumped at an Idaho dog track in the midst of a state investigation of his finances has been returned to the safety of a Portland nursing home.
Nurses, aides and administrator Hal Elliott crowded the sidewalk outside the Laurelhurst Care Center yesterday as John Kingery arrived in a white van. They cheered and waved as an attendant removed Kingery in his wheelchair.
Holly Berman, the Multnomah County public guardian appointed to his case yesterday morning, accompanied Kingery from the airport to the nursing home.
“He doesn’t understand much of what’s happened to him,” Berman said.
Kingery, a Ford Motor Co. retiree, did not acknowledge the crowd as he was wheeled up the ramp past blooming rhododendrons. His eyes were turned down beneath a blue cap that sported the motto: “Proud to be an American.”
“He looks a little confused and worn and tired,” Elliott said. Kingery has a urinary-tract infection but otherwise is in good health, he said.
Kingery was left at a greyhound racetrack in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Saturday night with a bag of diapers and a note identifying him as an Alzheimer’s patient. Coeur d’Alene is 320 miles from Portland.
The note identified Kingery as “John King,” a Spokane farmer, and said he had no family or money.
However, Elliott said Kingery received a pension of about $600 a month and about $400 a month in Social Security payments.
Under Medicaid rules, a patient is required to put any income toward payment of health-care costs. Medicaid pays the rest, allowing the patient to retain about $30 a month in spending money.
But Elliott said that while Kingery’s daughter, Sue Gifford, of Hillsboro, Ore., signed over his Social Security payments to the nursing home, she withheld his Ford pension.
Sherryll Johnson, a spokeswoman for the state Senior and Disabled Services Division, said the state had been investigating the Kingery case since March 13.
The abandonment, reported by the news media worldwide, prompted more than 400 phone calls to police in Idaho. Kingery was identified Tuesday by Laurelhurst employees who saw the news reports.
The case drew responses from around the world.
“I guess it’s because of the fact the man was abandoned in a state where it’s not against the law to do that,” Elliott said. “You can go to jail for abandoning a horse or a dog but not for abandoning a person.”
Detectives were trying to find out how the man got from Oregon to Idaho, and who removed labels from his clothes and wrote a partially inaccurate note that was taped to his wheelchair, Hayes said.
“Maybe it was frustration, who knows?” police Detective Harlen Fritsche said. “It’s despicable. There are other ways to handle things like this.”
Kingery was moved from Laurelhurst three weeks ago by his daughter to another Portland nursing home, the Regency Park Living Center. Regency Park employees said Gifford removed him Saturday morning.
During the next month, Berman said, Kingery’s case will be investigated and long-range plans will be made for his care. She said Kingery’s future custody had not been decided, but he would not be returned to Gifford.
Kootenai County, Idaho, Prosecutor Bill Douglas said he could find no Idaho law against abandoning an adult. The case was referred to authorities in Oregon.
Alzheimer’s disease attacks the brain, robbing its victim of even the most routine memories, abilities and behavior patterns.
Elliott said Kingery is in the final stages of the disease.