Glendale Adventist to pay $700K to settle patient dumping lawsuit (updated)

Homeless people on L.A.'s Skid Row.
Homeless people on L.A.'s Skid Row.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Glendale Adventist Medical Center has agreed to pay a total of $700,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer accusing it of illegally dumping mentally ill and disabled homeless patients on L.A.'s Skid Row over the last four years, Feuer announced Wednesday.

The hospital agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties, $100,000 to L.A. Family Housing, a group that works to house the homeless, and $100,000 to cover the city's legal fees, Feuer said.

Glendale Adventist did not concede any wrongdoing, Feuer noted.

While noting that "we strongly disagree" with the allegations in Feuer's suit, hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said in a written statement that "we chose to resolve this matter to avoid the very high cost of refuting these allegations - so that our medical staff can focus on what it does best – provide high-quality patient care."

"We have adjusted our policies to further align with the city of Los Angeles’ specific protocols for the discharge of homeless patients," wrote Gonzalez, adding that Glendale Adventist "has always been deeply committed to providing appropriate discharge options to all patients." 

The case against Glendale Adventist started with a tip from an outreach worker on Skid Row, said Feuer. 

Declaring that "patient dumping disgusts me," Feuer said "our office will investigate every case." He said other investigations into possible dumping are ongoing, although he would not say how many.

As part of that effort, Feuer's staff will "blanket" Skid Row, he said.

Feuer announced a phone number people can call to report possible patient dumping: (213) 978-8340.

In addition, the city attorney's office is working with the Hospital Association of Southern California to prevent further dumping.

Feuer filed suit against Glendale Adventist one week ago in L.A. County Superior Court, his latest legal salvo fired in his ongoing battle against patient dumping. The city attorney vowed back in January to step up enforcement efforts after reports that the practice had resurfaced last year.

Also in January, Beverly Hospital of Montebello agreed to pay the city $250,000 in civil penalties and legal fees to settle a lawsuit over its alleged illegal dumping of a homeless patient on Skid Row. In May, Pacific Hospital of the Valley agreed to pay $500,000 to homeless service providers and modify its discharge policies after it was accused of discharging a homeless patient with a serious mental disability and transported the person to Skid Row. 

This story was updated at 11:18 a.m. on August 27, 2014.