Nevada has sent nearly 500 mental health patients to California since 2006, and now a San Francisco City Attorney is threatening to sue the Silver State for the cost of caring for the ones that ended up in SF. The San Francisco Attorney, Dennis Herrera, contends that Nevada has engaged in reckless “Greyhound therapy,” in which a mental health patient is given a one-way ticket to somewhere else, and that place picks up the cost of dealing with them.
Herrera contends that 24 homeless, mentally ill patients were sent to San Francisco, and he will sue Nevada unless Nevada pays about half a million dollars in medical expenses and adopts a reasonable patient transfer policy.
"I don't think there is any doubt that it occurred in this case," said Herrera. "Here you have a very well-documented case of a state-sanctioned patient dumping scheme."
One shocking example of what Herrera is referring to is James Flavy Coy Brown. According to the SF Gate:
Brown “was sent on a 15-hour bus ride to Sacramento, despite having no family or friends in the area, and with no arrangements for his care, housing or treatment. Hospital staff allegedly gave Brown a one-way bus ticket, peanut butter crackers and a three-day supply of medication to treat his schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. He reportedly was told to call 911 when he arrived in Sacramento.”
The same article describes a report from San Francisco investigators about a patient who was deaf, blind and largely mute, who was sent to San Francisco twice from different Reno hospitals. Nevada has acknowledged that clerical errors have led to some of these cases, but maintain that it is not a systemic practice. That claim is looking more and more tenuous as the investigation goes on.