In yet another case of alleged patient dumping by a Los Angeles hospital, White Memorial Medical Center is facing a lawsuit for false imprisonment and hospital negligence, reported the Los Angeles Times.
When hospital officials discharged a patient who was being treated for schizophrenia, they left him outside a rehabilitation center without notifying his family. The former patient never went inside and wandered the streets before police eventually picked him up days later, the article noted.
"White Memorial has set a new low for hospital dumping," Hernan D. Vera, president and CEO of pro-bono law firm Public Counsel, told the LA Times. "They took someone who was not homeless and made him a homeless man."
The hospital maintains it followed all discharge procedures and said the patient was competent and agreed to go to the rehab center. "It was a patient drop-off," said White Memorial Medical Center spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez.
But hospitals aren't the only healthcare organizations recently accused of dumping patients in the streets. Hospice owners Lois Armstrong and David Daucher closed Sojourn Care in October to escape more than $27 million owed in Medicare refunds, Bloomberg reported last week.
They took about 100 of the more profitable patients to their new hospice, leaving roughly 180 other patients without caregivers, former employees told Bloomberg.
According to Sandra Dimmitt, a former Sojourn Care medical director, hundreds of U.S. hospices similarly manipulate the Medicare program at the expense of taxpayers and patients. "My patients were dumped out in the cold," she said.