Kaiser faces patient dumping charges

PR managers at Kaiser must all have a migraine. The healthcare giant is facing bad news again: this time with one of its hospitals facing false-imprisonment and dependent-care-endangerment charges for allegedly dumping a homeless person on the street. City officials also filed a civil lawsuit against Kaiser, using a law usually targeting inner-city slumlords, asking a judge to forbid all Kaiser facilities from engaging in patient dumping. Kaiser is one of 10 hospital companies being investigated by city attorneys. The charges against Kaiser spring from an incident in March, when a homeless shelter camera videotaped the patient, a 63-year-old woman with dementia, climbing out of a taxi to roam the streets in a hospital gown and socks. She had previously been under the care of Kaiser's Bellflower hospital for treatment of facial wounds.

Three days after her discharge from the Bellflower facility, while in a shelter, the woman passed out and was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. She remained there for about six weeks, having been diagnosed with pneumonia, anemia, dementia and a progressive brain dysfunction.  Kaiser officials say that they've changed their procedures since they learned about the incident, and note that they've been working both with local homeless agencies and the city attorney's office to straighten things out.

For more background on the dumping suit:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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