A criminal investigation has been launched into a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital that allegedly bused over 1,500 patients out of the facility on one-way tickets over a five year span.
According to a report published by the Sacramento Bee - which obtained bus receipts from the facility in question - patients were bused to every single state in the U.S., with approximately 200 arriving in Los Angeles County.
As a result, the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital is now facing a criminal probe from the city of Los Angeles into the scheme, which officials believe originally began back in 2008.
According to investigators, over 30 percent of those bused out of the facility were homeless and stranded upon departure – equipped with only a small supply of medication and several bottles of a nutritional supplement.
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One such person, James Flavy Brown, said he was sent to Sacramento even though he had never been there before. The psychosis patient had only been treated for three days before he was sent to the California capital equipped with a one-way ticket, three Ensure nutritional shakes, and three days-worth of medication.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to leave Nevada,’” Brown told ABC News. “[The doctor] said, ‘California sounds like a really nice state. I think you’ll be happy there.’”
With no Social Security card, food stamps, or Medicaid card, Brown was eventually forced to check into a homeless shelter after feeling the early effects of medication withdrawal.
Rawson-Neal Psychiatric has stated it has since modified its procedures.
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Nonetheless, the hospital is now facing heavy scrutiny from LA officials – who implemented some of the strictest patient-dumping laws in the country after a homeless schizophrenic was found walking the streets in a hospital gown while still connected to a catheter bag back in 2007.
L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and his team are currently scouting out former patients to see if they were released in violation of the city’s ordinance against patient-dumping.
If the hospital is found guilty, they are at risk of facing misdemeanor charges and hefty fines.