DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — City Attorney Mike Feuer shocked Downtowners three times this year by announcing that area hospitals had agreed to pay hefty fines to settle cases of alleged “dumping” of indigent patients in Skid Row. Now he has implied that more cases are coming, possibly in the very near future.
“Unfortunately, I can fairly predict that in coming weeks, days maybe, you’ll be back in our office talking about another instance,” he said Monday at a lunch at the Palm restaurant hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.
In August, Feuer announced that Glendale Adventist Medical Center had agreed to pay $700,000 to settle an investigation into multiple instances of alleged patient dumping. That followed a May announcement that Pacifica Hospital of the Valley would pay $500,000 to settle a case, and a January settlement with the Beverly Community Hospital Association for $250,000.
Although the hospitals all agreed to the fines and said they would change their policy for discharging homeless patients, none admitted wrongdoing.
Feuer has made cracking down on dumping a hallmark of his administration. He also has a deputy city attorney, Will Pirkey, work with area hospitals in the effort to get them to adopt discharge protocols that prevent homeless patients from winding up on Skid Row without follow-up care.
Feuer said that another training session with hospitals took place within the last week. He also said that he expected that the prosecution of three hospitals, and the ensuing media coverage, would have led to the stoppage of dumping.
“From what I can tell, there has not been a cessation of the practice,” he said.
In August, Feuer also announced the creation of a tip line for people to report suspected instances of dumping.
Copyright 2014 Los Angeles Downtown News