Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, Calif., has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations that it improperly discharged a homeless patient.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer alleges Pacifica Hospital violated the law when it discharged a homeless patient to a nursing facility by taxi without receiving confirmation from the center that they would admit her. The patient, Kasey Lucious, never arrived at the nursing home and was missing for three days.
Feuer also claims the hospital failed to inform relatives the patient was discharged even though they asked to be notified.
Pacifica Hospital admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to settle in order to avoid litigation fees, according to a news release.
The hospital also agreed to upgrade policies for the discharge of homeless patients, including implementation of a transportation policy and increased training for staff, according to a news release.
This is the second time the city attorney's office has alleged Pacifica improperly discharged a homeless patient. The acute care hospital agreed to pay $500,000 and adopted homeless patient discharge protocols in May 2015 after the city claimed it discharged a homeless man onto the streets of Los Angeles' Skid Row area.
Feuer has settled five cases from hospitals for patient-dumping with nearly $3 million in damages. His office most recently filed litigation against Gardens Regional Hospital in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., for improperly discharging a homeless women. The trial is scheduled for October.
"Patient-dumping is inhumane and we won't tolerate it," Feuer said in a news release.
The city has been working with the Hospital Association of Southern California to help hospitals implement discharge plans for homeless patients. Pacifica Hospital is not part of the association.