Health

Pacifica Hospital to pay $1 million to settle its second 'patient dumping' case

A homeless man fixes his tent along a street in Los Angeles.
A homeless man fixes his tent along a street in Los Angeles.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Pacifica Hospital of the Valley has agreed to pay the city of Los Angeles $1 million to settle a second suit brought against the hospital over its alleged "dumping" of homeless patients, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.

The settlement also requires the Sun Valley facility to "upgrade and amend" its homeless discharge protocols and policies, according to a statement from Feuer's office.

Officials at Pacifica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case involved the hospital's discharge of Kasey Lucious, a homeless woman "with a history of mental illness," the city attorney's office said. While stating that the exact date of the incident is "unknown to Plaintiff," the complaint said it happened sometime before April 2016.

The hospital allegedly failed to contact relatives who had requested to be notified of Lucious' whereabouts, and sent her by taxi to a mid-city nursing facility without confirming that it would admit her or that she had arrived, said the statement from Feuer's office.

"The patient failed to check into the facility and was subsequently missing for three days before being found by the California Highway Patrol wandering the streets," it added.

This violated protocols Pacifica agreed to adopt in May 2014 when it settled a previous patient dumping suit, said Feuer. In that case, the hospital agreed to pay $500,000 to various homeless service providers.

"This case underscores that when a hospital adopts homeless patient discharge protocols, it's got to follow them," Feuer said.

The upgrade of Pacifica's protocols will include "a detailed transportation policy and increased training for hospital personnel," the city attorney's office said.

This is the fifth patient dumping case Feuer has settled since he took office three years ago. The other cases:

One other lawsuit, filed in 2015 against Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center in Hawaiian Gardens, is set for trial in October.

This story has been updated.