LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has secured $1 million in civil penalties in a settlement with Pacifica Hospital of the Valley over allegations the hospital improperly discharged a homeless patient in direct violation of city law and the hospital’s homeless discharge protocols. This is the second time Pacifica has settled with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office over alleged patient dumping. In May 2014, Pacifica agreed to pay $500,000 and adopt homeless patient discharge protocols.
“Patient dumping is inhumane and we won’t tolerate it,” said Feuer. “This case underscores that when a hospital adopts homeless patient discharge protocols, it’s got to follow them.”
With the settlement, Pacifica Hospital has agreed to pay $1,000,000 in civil penalties to the City Attorney’s Office.
The settlement also requires Pacifica Hospital to upgrade and amend new protocols and policies for the discharge of homeless patients including a detailed transportation policy and increased training for hospital personnel.
The settlement resolves allegations that Pacifica Hospital discharged Kasey Lucious, a patient with a history of mental illness and homelessness, from the Sun Valley hospital following a 30-day stay without contacting relatives who had requested to be notified of her whereabouts. The hospital allegedly sent the patient by taxi to a mid-city nursing facility without receiving written confirmation that the facility would admit the patient before transport or verbal confirmation from the facility as to the patient’s arrival. The patient failed to check into the facility and was subsequently missing for three days before being found by the California Highway Patrol wandering on the streets.
Feuer has made ending patient dumping a major priority of his administration settling five cases and securing nearly $3 million from defendant hospitals. Feuer also filed litigation against Gardens Regional Hospital in 2015 and the case is set for trial in October.
Patient dumping continues to be prohibited by City Ordinance throughout the City of Los Angeles including but not limited to the "Patient Safety Zone," an area of Downtown Los Angeles bound by the Pasadena Freeway (I-110) to the North; the Harbor Freeway (I-110) to the West; the Los Angeles River to the east; and Florence Avenue to the South, which was established by the City Attorney's Office.
Deputy City Attorney Will Jay Pirkey handled the litigation.