11/29/2014

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KATU Investigators

Nevada hospital 'dumps' patients in Oregon, receipts show

Nevada hospital 'dumps' patients in Oregon, receipts show

PORTLAND, Ore. – Bus ticket receipts show just how many mental health patients were sent from Nevada to Oregon as part of a multistate practice known as "patient dumping."

Hundreds of patients were put on buses and several dozen ended up in Oregon. And most of those ended up in Portland.

A San Francisco city attorney posted 400 pages of receipts that show how many patients were bused out of Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas and headed to Oregon.

A total of 20 ended up in Portland.

The rest were scattered in cities from Medford to Newport to Hood River and White City. The Mental Health Association of Portland hasn't been able to find out when those people were bused here.

"No, we don't know. There's a lot of facts we don't know about this. Rawson-Neal's not been very open," said board member Jason Renaud.

Renaud has petitioned Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to join the San Francisco city attorney's lawsuit against Nevada for patient dumping.

San Francisco's city attorney contends treatment cost to taxpayers for 20 mental patients who were bused there totaled $500,000.

Oregon's AG office hasn't decided to join the class action suit yet.

"Well, I think it's important that these communities get some compensation. This is a harm to our community that this hospital has caused," said Renaud. "The discharges to California were all unreasonable. People were left on the streets without money and without medicine and that's not a good discharge."

One of the big issues in Oregon's recent special session involved more funding for mental health programs. It is money that is as hard to come by in Oregon as it is in Nevada. Renaud believes it's money well-spent.

"If we pay for people's mental health treatment, they don't show up in jails and prisons and hospital emergency rooms. And or on our streets," he said.

Some of the receipts for the patients bused to Oregon date back to 2008. The Mental Health Association of Portland says some of those transfers may have been valid but based on what it has seen about the patients sent to California, it has doubts.

If you have a story for our investigative team, send them an email. The address is investigators@katu.com.

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