LA approves fines for patient dumping

It looks like Los Angeles is going to approve fines for hospitals that engage in what it defines as patient dumping. The city council has given preliminary approval to a measure under which hospitals that discharge homeless patients on the streets of the city without their consent could be charged with misdemeanors and fined up to $25,000. California hospitals oppose the measure, contending that if they were found guilty of a misdemeanor, they could risk losing CMS certification. City attorneys dispute this, however.

Los Angeles city officials have been struggling with the patient dumping issue for a while now, faced with some particularly troubling incidents in which seriously ill homeless, disoriented or mentally ill patients have ended up unprepared on the city's Skid Row. Since 2005, the city attorney's office has investigated more than 50 cases, but filed suits against only a few. Part of the reason the city has made little progress has been that it has had to rely on civil actions against the hospitals, frequently citing a state law against unfair business practices.

To learn more about these regulations:
- read this Los Angeles Times article

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