Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday a $450,000 settlement with Westlake health care provider Good Samaritan Hospital over homeless patient dumping.
The settlement includes provisions that the hospital implement protocols for discharging indigent patients and training for staff on the resources available to these individuals. The hospital must also issue a report every three months to the city detailing its handling of homeless patients. The settlement still must be approved by a judge.
In a statement, Good Samaritan said the hospital disputes the city’s contention that it broke the law, but settled to avoid a costly legal battle.
“Rather than expend its limited resources on protracted litigation, Good Samaritan Hospital agreed to settle the dispute by making payments to LA City and LA County that the hospital hopes will be used to help address the homeless population needs, and to a community organization that is dedicated to helping homeless patients,” the statement reads.
Deputy City Attorney Will Jay Pirkey, who is in charge of the office’s patient dumping cases, said the settlement was not meant as a punitive measure.
“It’s a difficult situation for hospitals, but we’re trying to remind them that there are certain protocols they have to follow by law,” he said. “We really want to work with hospitals in a way that benefits the community.”
Good Samaritan is the fourth hospital to be charged with patient dumping by the city since Pirkey took over the program in 2013. Another case against Gardena Regional Hospital is set to go to trial in October.
Pirkey said other cases are being investigated, but he declined to name which hospitals were involved.
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