Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday that Good Samaritan Hospital will pay $450,000 to settle allegations the hospital improperly discharged a homeless patient in Echo Park.

Good Samaritan Hospital, which has denied the allegations, will pay $100,000 to Integrated Recovery Network, a nonprofit that provides services to homeless individuals. Another $50,000 will go to recuperative care facilities. The hospital will also pay $200,000 in civil penalties and $100,000 for related costs.

The hospital also has agreed to create and adhere to discharge protocols and train employees on services for patients who are homeless and mentally impaired, according to Feuer.

The settlement terms are pending court approval.

“Patient dumping is inhumane and must be stopped,” Feuer said. “I am pleased Good Samaritan Hospital has agreed to take the necessary steps to ensure some of our most vulnerable residents are protected.”

The agreement settles allegations the hospital dumped a patient in Echo Park without getting a patient’s written consent to be dropped off somewhere other than their residence and leaving the patient in a place where his or her health was endangered.

City attorneys alleged that the hospital gave the patient, who was in a wheelchair, a bus token to ride the bus to Echo Park in December 2014.

A neighborhood prosecutor who works for Feuer later found the man, whose medical condition — an infection in a leg — appeared to have gotten worse, according to City Attorney’s office spokesman Frank Mateljan.

A statement issued by Good Samaritan Hospital says that with the “sharp increase in the homeless population,” hospitals “struggle to place homeless patients when they are discharged because of the inadequate resources to meet their housing and medical needs.”

Though it disputes the allegations, the hospital agreed to the city settlement terms “rather than expend its limited resources on protracted litigation,” according to the statement, which also says Good Samaritan has agreed to “continue its practices of providing excellent care to homeless patients and attempting to provide appropriate placement following discharge.”

— City News Service 

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