State Department of Health refutes patient dumping claims - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

State Department of Health refutes patient dumping victim's claims

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The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is responding to claims from a former Rawson-Neal patient that she was "improperly" bused to California.

Tina Schmidt told FOX5 she was a victim of the "patient dumping" scandal but the state health officer said Schmidt's medical records show otherwise.

"We don't practice 'patient dumping,'" said State Health Officer Dr. Tracey Green. "We discharge people appropriately."

Green said accusations from Schmidt that she was "dumped" in San Diego twice with no food, no medications or help are untrue.

She said the only time Rawson-Neal purchased a bus ticket for Schmidt was to South Carolina in 2006.

"The records reflect very clearly the social worker had a discussion and documentation that she spoke with people at the Salvation Army in South Carolina when she was accepted to their treatment program," said Green.

Schmidt maintains she was "dumped" but now says it happened in South Carolina. She blames an overdose on prescription pills for her lapse in memory.

Las Vegas Psychiatric Society President Dr. Robert Horne said the case sheds light on how difficult it can be to investigate "patient dumping" claims from those with mental health conditions.

"As part of the illness, a person can have a distortion in memory," said Horne. "They can forget. They can confabulate where they are not sure about the dates, so they may tell you something that is probably true or maybe true and it's really not."

So far, the state health department said it's found 10 cases where insufficient documentation show clients didn't have family, friends or a support system waiting at their destination.

"This is really in my opinion an issue of documentation," said Green.

FOX5 reached out to Schmidt who said she's not surprised the state department is refuting her claims. She strongly believes she was "dumped."

The hospital now requires chaperones to accompany clients who will be bused out of state. Several staff members must also approve the transportation request.

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