MONTEBELLO, Calif., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A Montebello, Calif., hospital will pay $250,000 after it was accused of discharging a homeless patient without making shelter arrangements, prosecutors said.
In the settlement announced Friday, the Beverly Hospital in Montebello agreed to pay the civil penalties and legal fees after it was accused of sending a patient by taxi to a skid-row area and leaving her without arranging for her to go to a shelter, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"'Patient dumping' is inhumane and intolerable to me," Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Friday. "I do have it in my mind to send a message to other hospitals that this won't be tolerated."
The hospital agreed to the fines and promised to implement new protocols rather than face civil and criminal charges for allegedly leaving the homeless woman on skid row, the Times said.
Homeless advocates said they've seen more people on the streets wearing medical wristbands.
"Sadly, we are seeing patients from hospitals being dumped on skid row again without any plans for their discharge," said Andy Bales, chief executive of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. "It is worse than ever. I am seeing more people -- clearly patients -- wandering the streets."
The Times said Feuer's office is investigating several instances of hospitals allegedly dumping patients, including reports published in the Sacramento Bee that a Nevada psychiatric hospital transported about 1,500 psychiatric patients to cities and towns across the country, including California, during the last few years.