Continuing his effort to end patient dumping in Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has successfully reached a $450,000 settlement with Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center to resolve allegations that the hospital dumped a mentally ill homeless patient on Skid Row and failed to provide proper discharge protocols for the same patient on multiple occasions.
"Patient dumping is an unconscionable practice and will not be tolerated," said Feuer. "This settlement underscores our commitment to ensure that every patient, regardless of housing status, be treated with dignity and respect when he or she is discharged."
Under terms of the settlement, Gardens Regional Hospital has agreed to pay $450,000 in civil penalties which will be paid once the Court approves the sale of the hospital which has filed for bankruptcy.
The settlement resolved allegations that just before noon on September 4, 2014, a 38 year-old homeless schizophrenic woman with a history of mental and physical health problems was dumped in front of the Union Rescue Mission in the heart of the Skid Row area of downtown from a hospital van bearing the name of “Tri-City Regional Medical Center”, the former name of Gardens Regional Hospital. The patient allegedly was dressed in hospital paper tops and bottoms, had no money, identification or medication and no arrangements were made for shelter. As a result the victim allegedly wandered aimlessly through Skid Row before finally finding assistance.
The City Attorney’s Office also alleged in its lawsuit that Gardens Regional Hospital discharged the patient on at least five occasions between December, 2013, and September, 2014, with little to no discharge plan or instructions for future care.
Feuer has made ending patient dumping a major priority of his administration settling six cases and securing nearly $3 million from defendant hospitals.
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 was established by the City Attorney’s Office.
Deputy City Attorneys Will Pirkey and Wendy Loo handled the litigation.