Nevada will pay $400,000 to the city of San Francisco to settle a lawsuit regarding the busing of psychiatric hospital patients to the Bay Area, News3LV reported on Oct. 5. The settlement comes after a legal battle that has lasted for more than two years.
San Francisco filed the lawsuit in 2013, after the Sacramento Bee published accounts of patients who had been discharged from the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and were given tickets to various cities in California. Allegedly, the patients were asked where they wanted to go, given a few days' worth of medication and a taxi ride to the Las Vegas bus station.
San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera said 24 patients had been bused from Nevada to San Francisco over a five-year-period, and that 20 of them required medical attention shortly after arrival.
"What the defendants have been doing for years is horribly wrong on two levels," Herrera said in a statement when he filed the lawsuit. "It cruelly victimizes a defenseless population, and punishes jurisdictions for providing health and human services that others won't provide."
Many of the patients were mentally ill and not California residents, and the lawsuit alleges that they were simply sent to various destinations with no preparations for when they arrived.
Nevada officials said the state's policies regarding patient support had been strengthened and that more than $30 million has been added to the state budget to fund mental health services.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said the $400,000 settlement will validate the patient management best practices and procedures which Nevada has had in place for two years, in a Oct. 2 statement to the SF Examiner.
“We look forward to working with California to ensure all patient transfers to and from both states are managed using these best practices and adhering to conditions detailed in the agreement,” Sandoval added.