Nevada’s mental patients’ ticket to ride

April 22, 2013

mental healthNevada health officials have been quietly putting psychiatric patients on buses and shipping them to locales all over the U.S., and California has become a favorite destination, a Sacramento Bee investigation reveals.

Health services in Nevada have been drastically reduced in recent years, and in response to this, patients are simply dumped elsewhere. Since July 2008, records show, one facility in Las Vegas has downloaded 1,500 patients — to every state in the continental U.S.

Los Angeles County has been the most exploited, with more than 200 previously institutionalized patients bused there; others went in numbers to Sacramento and San Diego.

In the past three years, Nevada lawmakers have cut mental health expenditures by 28 percent. And it has cost the state only $205,000 over five years for the bus tickets, compared to the $500 daily cost for each in-hospital patient — 4,000 of whom are admitted annually.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today announced a formal investigation into whether the State of Nevada improperly “dumped” psychiatric patients to his city and across California.)

Updated 2:42 p.m. 04/22/13

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If the states keep doing this to each other, it just might cause a mass secession.

That wouldn’t be a bad idea.