The city of San Francisco is considering a lawsuit against Nevada for allegedly releasing and providing hundreds of psychiatric patients one-way bus ticketsinto California, KTVU reports.
The possible action stems from a separate federal civil rights suit filed by James Flavey Coy Brown in Nevada, who alleges the state put him on a one-way bus to northern California after discharging him from a treatment facility. He’s seeking class-action status for as many as 1,500 others.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is demanding that Nevada reimburse California cities and counties for treatment of about 500 indigent psychiatric patients who were given one-way bus tickets to the Golden State in recent years.
Those costs include about $US500,000 that Herrera says San Francisco spent on medical care, housing and other aid for 20 people shipped here in a practice sometimes called Greyhound therapy.
If Nevada doesn’t pay up, Herrera is threatening a class-action lawsuit. He alleges patients were released from a psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas and given one-way tickets to his state. According to KTVU, two dozen of those who got off in San Francisco were “broke, homeless, and mentally ill.”
The Chronicle notes the practice — called “patient dumping” or “Greyhound therapy” — has been rumoured, but never officially confirmed as a way for states and cities to move their mental health problems elsewhere.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that it occurred in this case,” Herrera told The Chronicle. “Here you have a very well-documented case of a state-sanctioned patient dumping scheme.”
According to a Nevada Health and Human Services summary from April, the Las Vegas psychiatric facility Rawson-Neal saw more than 31,000 people admitted in a five-year span. Of those, 1,473 received bus transport out of the state, according to KTVU.
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