Los Angeles hospital pays $550K to settle patient dumping cases

As part of its settlement to resolve hundreds of illegal patient dumping cases, Los Angeles authorities ordered Los Angeles-based Silver Lake Medical Center to pay $550,000 to fund a new Homeless Patient Assistance Program and implement new protocols, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles attorneys reviewed hospital records to determine the hospital violated the law. According to their review, Silver Lake Medical Center created documentation, allegedly signed by homeless patients with mental illnesses, consenting to being dropped off at homeless shelters. However, transportation records for those same patients revealed that they were dropped off at bus or train stations — which is considered an unlawful discharge, according to the report.

"This judgment and injunction are designed to hold Silver Lake Medical Center accountable for the disturbing mistreatment of patients," said Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey. "The hospital's disregard for the law and its patients' well-being cannot be ignored or go unpunished."

Silver Lake Medical Center will establish a new discharge planning protocol and a training program that educates staff about how to properly discharge homeless patients to adhere to state and federal law.  The protocol will require hospital staff to provide the discharged patient with housing options, confirm the availability of the living situation and ensure they have appropriate transportation to that facility.

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