Prerequisite lede: by differing standards, there are lots of mental cases in S.F. But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office has opened a formal investigation into allegations that Nevada health officials are giving hundreds of psychiatric patients one-way bus tickets to San Francisco and other cities.
The move comes after an ongoing investigation by the Sacramento Bee uncovered data showing that since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital has transported more than 1,500 mentally ill patients out of southern Nevada by Greyhound bus, sending a third of those patients to California. The majority of those ended up in Los Angeles, but bus tickets show 31 cases sent to San Francisco.
In a release, Dennis Herrera condemned the practice:
“Assuming the reports are true, Nevada’s practice of psychiatric ‘patient dumping’ is shockingly inhumane and illegal ... We intend to investigate these reports thoroughly, and I am inviting input from providers of services to San Francisco’s homeless, who may be willing to volunteer evidence and testimony to assist the city in a potential civil action. We’re prepared to litigate aggressively on behalf of San Francisco and its taxpayers to recover whatever costs or damages we’re able to identify."
According to the Sac Bee report, one Rawson-Neal doctor specifically recommended "sunny California" as a destination, because they "have excellent health care and more benefits than you could ever get in Nevada."