1,500 Nevada Mental Health Patients Shipped To Other States

Over 1,500 Nevada mental health patients have reportedly been shipped to different states due to loss of funding. The patients, from the Rawson-Neal State Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, were sent by by Greyhound bus to cities nationwide.

An investigation revealed that Nevada’s largest state mental hospital began the practice in 2008. In the last five years they have sent 1,500 patients to 45 different states across the nation.

As reported by The Sacramento Bee, the patients traveled unsupervised. Jo Robinson of the San Francisco Behavioral Health Services division, calls the practice “patient dumping.”

Numerous patients have been given bus tickets to their destination, but no further instructions or guidance beyond the bus terminal. Robinson cites two cases that she personally observed.

In both cases, patients arrived from Nevada without a treatment plan or anyone to pick them up at the station. The patients were essentially left standing in the terminal with no idea where to go or what to do.

The practice gained national attention when James Flavy Coy Brown was left at a terminal in Sacramento with no medication, identification, or money. Brown, who suffers from Schizophrenia, eventually found his way to a homeless shelter, but was found to be suicidal.

Brown spend several days in the hospital before social workers were able to arrange temporary housing. Brown reportedly had never been to Sacramento and had no friends or family in the town.

Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services states that the majority of the mental health patients are being shipped home. As Las Vegas is a popular tourist destination, they argue that the patients are simply visitors that need a ride home. They further contend that most of the patients are “mentally stable” and have treatment programs in place at their destination.

Nevada Health and Human Services Director Michael Willden has admitted that there were mistakes made in some isolated cases, but they have not found any “pattern of misconduct.”

Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services has a written policy for all patients leaving the Rawson-Neal State Psychiatric Hospital for other destinations. The policy outlines rules including, nourishment, arranged housing, a treatment plan, and someone to meet the patient at their destination.

According to officials, the practice of shipping mental health patients to other states is unusual at best. Los Angeles County, for example, only transports patients at the request of a family member, and never without a chaperone. Los Angeles County officials report that they have received over 200 patients that were bussed in from Las Vegas.

Rawson-Neal is currently under investigation for shipping 1,500 Nevada mental health patients to other states. The matter has been taken to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius as well as Nevada’s governor and Legislature.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/14/5340078/nevada-buses-hundreds-of-mentally.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/14/5340078/nevada-buses-hundreds-of-mentally.html#storylink=cpy