A $400,000 “patient dumping” settlement with Nevada was approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

SF finalizes settlement in Nevada ‘patient dumping’ case

A $400,000 “patient dumping” settlement with Nevada approved Tuesday by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors also requires that state to regularly report to The City for the next five years regarding any patients sent to California.

The settlement establishes criteria for sending those patients to California in the first place.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera had sued Nevada two years ago over the state’s improperly discharging psychiatric patients and sending them on Greyhound buses to San Francisco with little means and nowhere to stay, a practice first exposed by the Sacramento Bee.

The Nevada Board of Examiners, which reviews claims for payment, approved the settlement Oct. 13 and on Tuesday the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved it, making it official.

As part of the settlement agreement, made public Tuesday, Nevada agreed to only provide travel assistance for released patients based on certain criteria. That would include, for example, cases where the patient was a California resident at the time they were admitted for treatment in Nevada.

The settlement agreement can be found here: SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

Other criteria includes cases where a clinic has agreed to accept the patient in the destination city in California or an acquaintance or family member has agreed to care for the patient.. The agreement also requires the discharged patient to have a travel chaperone, like a family member, who must be present when released in Nevada and accompany the patient on the trip to California.

“I’m pleased we reached an agreement that will assure the well-being of psychiatric patients when they’re transported, and that also offers a model for how jurisdictions can work together to better protect our patients and taxpayers,” Herrera said in a statement released shortly after the Board of Supervisors vote.

When the proposed settlement was reported by the San Francisco Examiner on Oct. 5, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement, “We look forward to working with California to ensure all patient transfers to and from both states are managed using these best practices and adhering to conditions detailed in the agreement.”

The settlement agreement requires Nevada to provide San Francisco with a semi-annual report regarding any patients Nevada’s state mental health system sends to to California between January 1 and December 2019. The report must include patient information like date of discharge and eligibility for travel under the agreement.

Since April 2008, San Francisco identified 24 patients bused from the state-run Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas to San Francisco, with 20 in need of medical care “some within mere hours of getting off the bus,” said the lawsuit. Over the past five years, Nevada sent a total of 500 patients by Greyhound bus to cities and counties in California,” the lawsuit said. The lawsuit sought $500,000 in expenses for the medical care of the patients.

Also on Tuesday, San Francisco increased gun control regulations, which has prompted the closure of the last remaining gun store.

Supervisor Mark Farrell, who introduced the legislation, offered no apologies for the pending closure of High Bridge Arms at 3185 Mission St., which plans to shutdown on Oct. 31.

“I believe all of us in San Francisco will be better off,” Farrell said of the anticipated gun shop closure. The store was opened by Bob Chow, a Chinese American who competed in the US Olympics, in 1952, operating primarily as a gunsmith. In 1987, it was sold to Andy Takahashi, who before coming to San Francisco via Alaska lived in Japan.

The legislation requires the video recording of all firearms sales, which would be available to the police with a search warrant. The legislation would also require at least weekly reporting the Police Department of store bought ammo. The law was supported by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“Even though our city and our state have some of the toughest gun control laws on the books there still remains more that we can do to protect public safety,” Farrell said.

The legislation was approved in a 9-0 vote. Supervisors Eric Mar and John Avalos were absent from the meeting. Both were attending the Local Progress convention in Los Angeles.

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