Glendale Adventist Medical Center has agreed to pay $700,000 to settle allegations that the hospital improperly discharged a homeless patient on Skid Row, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Wednesday.
The hospital will also adopt protocols for properly releasing patients who do not have a fixed home. Feuer said hospitals must establish a prior agreement with a homeless shelter before transferring a patient there.
The settlement sum includes $500,000 in civil penalties and $100,000 to reimburse litigation and investigative costs incurred by the City Attorney’s Office. The remaining $100,000 will go to Los Angeles Family Housing, a homeless services provider, Feuer said.
“Patient dumping will not be tolerated and we will continue to work aggressively until it ceases to exist,” Feuer said. “Every discharged patient, homeless or housed, should be able to recuperate with dignity.”
Feuer said he has set up a tip line — (213) 978-8340 — for the public to report patient dumping.
Glendale Adventist Medical Center CEO Kevin Roberts said the hospital, which did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement, “has always been deeply committed to providing appropriate discharge options to all patients, and we have adjusted our policies to further align with the city of Los Angeles’ specific protocols for the discharge of homeless patients.”
Glendale Adventist spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez later issued another statement saying that the hospital “strongly” disagreed with the city attorney’s allegations, but settled the case”to avoid the very high cost of refuting these allegations” and to allow its staff to focus on giving “high- quality patient care.”
Feuer earlier this year announced settlements with two other hospitals in patient dumping cases. Beverly Community Hospital in Montebello agreed to pay $250,000, while Pacifica Hospital of the Valley, based in Sun Valley, paid a $600,000 settlement.
— City News Service