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Nevada governor speaks to patient dumping allegations

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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said disciplinary action was taken after discovering at least one patient was improperly discharged from a Las Vegas mental hospital. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
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  • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said disciplinary action was taken after discovering at least one patient was improperly discharged from a Las Vegas mental hospital.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is responding to allegations that his state is dumping psychiatric patients in other locales, including San Francisco, after they’re discharged.

Sandoval issued a statement Tuesday saying disciplinary action was taken after he learned that at least one patient was improperly discharged from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. He added that a new policy was implemented weeks ago to strengthen oversight, and he denied Nevada had a policy of dumping.

The response came nearly two months after The Sacramento Bee first published the story of James Flavy Coy Brown, who was discharged from Rawson-Neal to a Greyhound bus and arrived disoriented in Sacramento in mid-February.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Monday that he’s launching an investigation into whether Nevada is systematically sending patients out of state.

At least 36 people — some with severe psychiatric issues — were bused to San Francisco by Rawson-Neal with no notification to family, no links to the area and no arrangement to provide care for them, according to the Bee.

The City Attorney’s Office said any shipping of patients to places where they have no support networks could violate a number of local, state and federal laws.

Herrera said that along with his investigation, he would seek compensation from Nevada for any costs that San Francisco taxpayers had incurred because of the actions of the out-of-state hospital, if the accusations prove to be true.

The allegations of sending people who have mental illnesses to San Francisco rang true for some who deal with people who are homeless, including Mayor Ed Lee’s homeless czar, Bevan Dufty.

On Monday, he noted stories that have circulated about people in “grave psychiatric condition” who showed up at the Greyhound bus station at the old Transbay Tranist Terminal.