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Nevada pays San Francisco $400 000 after admitting bussing mentally ill patients to other states

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 09 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5418
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

A Nevada state psychiatric hospital put hundreds of unwanted patients on buses with one way tickets to distant states, often with no documentation and just a few hours’ worth of medicine, an investigation has found.

From 2008 to 2013 about 1500 patients from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas were put in taxis bound for the Greyhound station, where the hospital had a standing contract with the bus company. Of these, 24 were sent to San Francisco, California, where 20 soon required treatment.

A further 19 were sent to Sacramento, California, where one patient attracted the attention of the local newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, which soon unraveled the full scope of the bussing scheme. San Francisco sued to recover its treatment costs, and, after two years of litigation, Nevada this week agreed to pay the city $400 000 (£260 000; €350 000). Nevada had spent $1.9m in legal costs fighting the suit, and the state may face further claims from other cities that …

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