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Valley Hospital to Pay $500K for Dumping Mentally Ill Patient on Skid Row

The money will go to numerous charities throughout Los Angeles.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 10:59 a.m. May 29, 2014. Edited with new details.

A Sun Valley hospital accused of dumping a mentally disabled patient on Skid Row has agreed to pay $500,000 to homeless services providers and adopt discharge policies, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today.

Pacifica Hospital of the Valley did not admit any wrongdoing, but wants to ensure that patients are discharged in "a respectful and humane manner," according to hospital President Ayman Mousa.

Feuer said Pacifica will pay $500,000 to Integrated Recovery Network, Downtown Women's Center, Union Rescue Mission, Venice Family Clinic, Midnight Mission and L.A. Family Housing.

The hospital will also pay the City Attorney's Office's investigative expenses, Feuer said.

Feuer alleged that Pacifica in January improperly dropped off a patient with a serious mental disability on Skid Row.

"Patient dumping has no place in our society, and my office will do everything possible to end this inhumane practice," Feuer said.

Feuer said the patient alleged to have been dumped is male, but he would not go into further detail about the patient due to the terms of the settlement, which he said was reached after his office threatened to sue the hospital.

Feuer in January announced a settlement with Beverly Community Hospital, which also was accused of patient dumping.

He is meeting with members of the Hospital Association of Southern California on June 23 to encourage more hospitals to adopt patient discharge policies.

Those policies will be similar to ones being adopted by Pacifica and will ensure a "warm hand-off" for homeless patients, Feuer said.

The policies will make sure "there is informed consent on the part of the patient" and that the hospital "is taking important steps to verify the existence of facilities that would be appropriate for the person who is being discharged."

Feuer acknowledged that a homeless patient "presents a number of complexities to the hospital," but said "none of those complexities justify patient dumping."

Dozens of hospitals may soon agree to adopt discharge policies at the June 23 meeting, he said.

Feuer would not talk about "ongoing investigations," but said he was in communication with homeless services providers.

"It's well known to service providers on Skid Row ... that our office makes this a priority," he said.

--City News Service


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