The Los Angeles City Attorneys Office is investigating a new alleged incident of patient dumping by Kaiser Permanente, which could put the health plan in violation of a landmark settlement reached in a previous case.
On June 30, 26-year-old Jose Gonzalez was discharged from 172-bed Kaiser Foundation Hospital-Baldwin Park (Calif.) after being treated for severe back pain for two weeks. A taxi dropped him off with a walker at a homeless shelter allegedly against his will, a spokeswoman for the city attorneys office said.
A Kaiser spokesman said Gonzalez signed appropriate discharge forms, and Kaiser made arrangements for further care.
Kaiser agreed to adopt new protocols on discharging homeless patients as part of a settlement in another widely reported case where a 63-year-old woman was left on Skid Row in a hospital gown and slippers after being treated at its 307-bed Kaiser Foundation Hospital-Bellflower (Calif.) in March 2006. If it is found in violation of the settlement, Kaiser could face fines or other penalties, according to the city attorneys office, which is investigating nine other complaints of patient dumping by area hospitals. -- by Rebecca Vesely