Glendale Adventist Medical Center has settled a lawsuit it faced for illegally discharging and dumping homeless and mentally ill patients in Los Angeles’ skid row for the past four years, a neighborhood infamous for its “extreme poverty, homelessness, rampant sale and use of illegal drugs and violent crime.”
The suit was filed by Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer on Aug. 20, and alleged patients were dropped off in the 50-block section of downtown as a way for hospital officials to shirk their duty to make sure their vulnerable patients were properly taken care of.
Glendale Adventist spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez stated earlier this week the hospital strongly disagreed with the accusations, but confirmed a settlement was reached on Tuesday.
City Atty. spokesman Rob Wilcox declined to comment on any evidence that led to the lawsuit.
The complaint does not cite specific examples of patient dumping allegedly carried out by Glendale Adventist, but states the latest incident occurred June 6.
In May, Pacifica Hospital in Sun Valley paid $500,000 to go toward homeless services after it was dealt a similar lawsuit from the city of Los Angeles.
Wilcox also declined to comment on what would be done with any settlement from Glendale Adventist.
The local hospital was established in 1905 and employs 720 doctors with an additional staff of 2,460 people as well as 680 volunteers. The L.A. County Department and Mental Health designated the facility to assess, examine and treat patients admitted via involuntary detention holds, according to the lawsuit.
In January, Ascencia, which runs a 90-day emergency shelter in Glendale, told the News-Press that a local hospital discharged a mentally ill patient that was brought to the shelter by taxi.
Executive Director Natalie Profant-Komuro declined to name the hospital, but said the arrival of the patient was out of the ordinary because she was very unstable once her medication wore off and had to be isolated from others staying at the shelter because she had become violent.
She added Ascencia has a good relationship with Glendale Adventist and the shelter’s staff communicates with the hospital in advance of discharging homeless patients to make sure the individual is well enough to be handed off to an agency.
“Ideally, we’re working with the hospital beforehand,” Profant-Komuro said.