LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Montebello hospital has agreed to pay $200,000 in civil penalties and adopt new protocols for discharging homeless patients in a settlement involving a patient dumping case in downtown Los Angeles, the City Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the settlement (PDF) stems from allegations that officials at Beverly Community Hospital last year had a patient driven to Skid Row and then released without arranging for another shelter to assume responsibility for the patient.
Beverly Hospital – which did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement – had been accused of failure to “perform a medical screening of a dependent adult with an emergency medical condition,” in addition to failure to “stabilize and transfer that patient and then improperly discharged that homeless patient to Skid Row,” according to a statement.
In addition to adopting a homeless discharge policy, officials said the hospital has implemented a number of revisions to its medical screening and involuntary psychiatric holds policies and procedures, including adhering to state and federal laws that require homeless patients to be discharged to a “patient safety zone” if no family member is available to care for them.
As part of the settlement, the hospital also must obtain written consent from the patient to transport them to any location other than their residence.
“Patient dumping is inhumane and intolerable,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “My office will fight to protect everyone in our community, especially our most vulnerable.”
The settlement will end litigation initiated by Feuer’s office in December.
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