A mental hospital in Nevada has been discharging patients, putting them on a Greyhound bus, and sending them on their way across the lower 48, reports Opposing Views
. And it's a practice that's been at work for years.
State-owned Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has placed at least 1,500 patients on buses headed to destinations all around the country since 2008, in a move some describe as "patient dumping." The problem stems partially from Nevada's recent budget cuts targeting mental health services, and was brought to light when Rawson-Neal patient, 48-year-old James Flavy Coy Brown, showed up at a Sacramento, California homeless shelter in February "suicidal and confused
." He had no family or friends in the city.
Brown was hospitalized for three days until social workers found him temporary housing, reports the Sacramento Bee
Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, the agency that oversees the process of discharging patients form Rawson-Neal, claims that staff are supposed to confirm with outside cities that patients will be received at their destination. But nobody interviewed in Sacramento recall being contacted by the hospital regarding Brown, according to the Bee
. And while Nevada officials conceded that mistakes were made in his case, they claim there's no pattern of misconduct.
"Putting someone whose mental illness makes them unable to care for themselves alone on a bus could be absolutely disastrous" said a representative with a Sacramento County mental health center.
Via Opposing Views and the Sacramento Bee