A psychiatric hospital in Nevada is under investigation for allegedly busing more than 1,500 patients out of the state over the last five years. Patients discharged from the Rawson-Neal Hospital were routinely sent away on Greyhound buses to every state in the US with no supervision, advance notice, or future treatment plans.
Nevada health authorities told reporters that the majority of patients were sent to their home communities with treatment plans or families waiting for them, but California officials disagree, reporting cases of patients turning up with no arrangements for treatment or care. A majority of patients were sent to California, more than 500 in all, with 200 going to Los Angeles County alone.
One patient was sent on a Greyhound bus to Sacramento, where he had never been before and knew no one. He ran out of food and medication and ended up in the UC Davis Medical center ER for three days before they could place him somewhere.
"You never put a mentally ill person, unescorted, on a bus. Ever. That is ludicrous," Carlos Brandenburg, Nevada's former commissioner of mental health told the Sacramento Bee
The practice is apparently not illegal, but the federal agency that oversees Medicaid and Medicare compliance has given the hospital ten days to correct its discharge policies or risk losing federal funding. The new policies include a requirement of two physicians to discharge a patient with an administrator's approval and chaperones for patients bused out of state.