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Nevada to Pay San Francisco $400,000 Over Psychiatric 'Patient Dumping'

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In a 2013 investigation, the Sacramento Bee reviewed five years' worth of Greyhound bus receipts that Nevada’s mental health division had purchased. Many of the discharged patients were given bus tickets to California. (steve/Flickr)

San Francisco supervisors accepted a $400,000 payment from Nevada on Tuesday, settling a two-year dispute over allegations that psychiatric patients were wrongly shipped to California upon discharge.

The settlement approved by the board also requires Nevada to provide transport back to California only for patients who are returning to a home address or a treatment facility in the state. San Francisco's city attorney released details of the confidential settlement shortly after the vote.

The city sued Nevada in September 2013 after the Sacramento Bee published accounts of patients who were discharged from the state-run Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, and given bus tickets to California cities for further care.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said two dozen people with no prior connection to the city had been bused here over a five-year period, and 20 needed medical care shortly after they arrived. In many cases, they were sent to California without sufficient food, water or medication.

He said at the time that the practice "punishes jurisdictions for providing health and human services that others won't provide."

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In a statement Tuesday, Herrera said he was pleased his office had reached an agreement with Nevada.

The Nevada Board of Examiners approved the settlement earlier this month.

In the months immediately after the newspaper's investigation, Nevada health officials said they improved policies to better care for discharged patients at their destination. Several employees were fired.

The agreement requires a second board vote, which is expected, as well as court approval.

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