WASHINGTON, DC – Staci Pratt, Legal Director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, testified this morning in front of the United States Commission on Civil Rights on patient dumping by hospitals. The Commission looked specifically at the treatment and care of patients with a psychiatric disability.
In her testimony, Pratt told the Commission about James Flavy Coy Brown, a patient at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. In February of 2013, Rawson-Neal discharged Brown to a Greyhound Bus Station with a ticket to Sacramento, California, a three-day supply of medication, and several bottles of Ensure. Brown knew no one in Sacramento, and Rawson-Neal made no arrangements for Brown’s follow-up care.
Pratt also discussed Rawson-Neal’s routine abandonment of individuals with psychiatric needs. Brown was one of 1,500 patients that Rawson-Neal bussed out-of-state without arrangements for housing, hospitalization or follow-up care.
“We are witnessing a failure of individuals, institutions, and enforcement mechanisms,” said Pratt in her testimony to the Commission.
According to Pratt’s testimony, Nevada “now spends $80 million less on the mental health care system now than it did [in 2007].” Nevada spends roughly half of the national average on mental health services per capita.