HOMELESS PATIENT DUMPING
Patient dumping is when a health facility (hospital or skilled nursing facility) releases or discharges a patient including the homeless onto the streets or to an unlicensed facility (shelter, half-way-house, crisis center) that cannot provide the level care necessary for the patient's recovery. An example is when a wheel chair bound homeless patient has an open leg wound that will need a few weeks of recuperative care to fully recover is discharged to the street where the wound is likely to be come infected, require re-hospitalization and possibly result in the loss of a limb.
Current law requires hospitals to work with the patient's family when discussing treatment and discharge, to create an appropriate patient discharge plan and to obtain a signed written informed consent from the patient if the hospital is transporting the patient by hospital van,taxi or bus to any location other than the patient's residence, which does not include the street or a shelter.
The civil law enforcement actions brought by the City Attorney against hospitals and skilled nursing facilities has resulted in those facilities providing monetary assistance to homeless service groups within the City of Los Angeles as well as requiring those facilities to adopt Homeless Patient Discharge Planning Protocol.
Our office also created a patient dumping hotline and we encourage anyone that sees it, or suspects it, to let us know by calling 213-978-8340.