Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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2 staffers at psychiatric hospital disciplined over patient busing

CARSON CITY — The state has completed its review of 1,500 patients shipped out of state from a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital, finding five or six cases in which the hospital’s discharge policy was not followed.

Mike Willden, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said today a decision will be made soon whether to continue sending discharged patients by bus out of state, to scrap the policy or require a chaperone to accompany the patient.

The majority of patients involved were not considered a “threat to themselves or to others” and expressed a desire to return to their families, friends or to an out-of-state treatment facility, the internal review found.

Two staff members at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital were disciplined, but Willden refused to say if they were higher-echelon officials or what penalty they faced.

The review of the 1,500 cases — prompted by a series of stories in the Sacramento Bee — was completed at midnight Tuesday. The Bee first broke the story of Nevada patients being put on a buses and sent to other states, prompting officials in California to call for an investigation.

The policy governing how patients in Nevada are discharged out of state has since been tightened. Now, two physicians instead of one must sign a discharge, and the hospital administrator must approve the decision.

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