San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Glendale Adventist Settles 'Patient Dumping' Suit

By Joel Russell Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Glendale Adventist Hospital reached an agreement on Wednesday to pay $700,000 to settle a city lawsuit accusing it of discharging patients from its emergency room to the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a practice known as patient dumping.

The faith-based non-profit hospital, owned by Adventist Health in Rosemead, also plans to change its policies to align with the Los Angeles' protocols for homeless patients.

The suit, filed last week by L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, accused the hospital of illegally discharging mentally ill and disabled patients in Skid Row section of downtown.

“Patient dumping will not be tolerated and we will continue to work aggressively until it ceases to exist,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer, in a statement. “Every discharged patient, homeless or housed, should be able to recuperate with dignity.”

The settlement includes a $500,000 civil penalty, $100,000 for the city’s legal costs and a $100,000 donation to the non-profit L.A. Family Housing in North Hollywood.

The hospital did not admit to wrongdoing, saying it had long worked with homeless service agencies and settled the lawsuit to avoid the expense of fighting the allegations, according to a statement emailed by hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez.

"Glendale Adventist Medical Center has always been deeply committed to providing appropriate discharge options to all patients and we have adjusted our policies to further align with the City of Los Angeles’ specific protocols for the discharge of homeless patients," the statement read.

This is the third patient dumping case brought by Feuer since the beginning of the year, including a May action against Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley. That hospital paid $500,000 to homeless groups and signed an agreement with the city to settle a similar suit by Feuer that alleged it dumped patients downtown.

The city’s discharge policy requires hospitals to identify homeless patients, provide them with appropriate social services, attempt to contact family members and to find appropriate housing or shelter, among other steps.