Nevada hospital’s ‘patient dumping’ extended to Oregon

By Carla Castano, KOIN 6 News, Oct. 11, 2013

Documents obtained in a KOIN 6 News investigation show people with severe mental health illnesses were given one-way tickets from a state-run hospital in Nevada to Portland.

Accusations of “patient dumping” first surfaced in California in April. Now, KOIN 6 News learned the same state-run psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas sent at least 32 of its patients to cities in Oregon.

Those patients were given one-way Greyhound tickets to cities throughout Oregon — Salem, Tigard, Newport — but most ended up in Portland.

“They had only a few days worth of medications and no money,” said Jason Renaud of the Mental Health Association of Portland. “This is causing homelessness by a psychiatric hospital which is charged with helping persons with severe and persistent mental illness.”

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A class action lawsuit filed by San Francisco is how Portland’s Mental Health Association realized patients from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital may also have gotten one-way bus tickets to Portland.

San Francisco found 31 other patients were sent to their city.

KOIN 6 News found 1500 questionable one-way tickets throughout the country over the last five years.

No one from the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital would speak with KOIN 6 News, nor would they disclose the status of the patients who received the one-way tickets.

A hospital communications person did send a statement that said from 2008 to 2013, the hospital discharged 31,000 patients, and of those, 8% were non-Nevada residents.

In September, the Mental Health Association of Portland put in a request with the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate. They have not heard back yet.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum‘s office told KOIN 6 News the staff is looking into it, but it’s too early to say if they will investigate.

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Double doors at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Double doors at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital

Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital