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Nevada Hospital Reprimanded for Shipping Mental Patients Away

Update Date: Apr 27, 2013 12:57 PM EDT

A Las Vegas hospital is under fire for reportedly shipping mentally unstable patients away. According to an investigation headed by the Sacramento Bee newspaper, the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Nevada was giving patients greyhound bus tickets to California. The newspaper stated that these patients were given their dosages of medication, placed on a bus and sent to California without any guidance at all. Based from this investigation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is an agency under the U.S. Health and Human Services Department informed the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services agency in charge of the hospital that if the hospital did not amend its practices, it would stop receiving government funding.

The agency received the warning yesterday, Friday, April 26, 2013 and has until May 6 to present a new plan that would explain how it aims to fix the current problems. The investigation revealed troubling practices that the hospital was using in order to get rid of their patients. The newspaper reported that the hospital has given out 1,500 one-way bus tickets to over 40 different destinations over the past five years. Some of these patients were not provided with enough food for the lengthy bus rides, medicines or a plan that would help them adapt to living in the new location. The hospital essentially sent them off to fend for themselves when they were not mentally stable to do so, jeopardizing their health.

"We are 100 percent confident that we will get the plan of corrections implemented and there will be no loss of federal funds," Dr. Tracey Green, the top state health officer in Nevada said. She also noted that the hospital's billings mostly comes out of the state, with only 10 percent of it coming from Medicare and none of it coming from Medicaid.

The hospital will be expected to change its policies soon. 

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