Los Angeles prosecutors announced on July 2 they had reached a $550,000 settlement with Silver Lake Medical Center in Westlake, the second health care agency in a week to reach a financial agreement after accusations of illegal patient dumping.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and County District Attorney Jackie Lacey secured the settlement after a whistleblower accused the century-old psychiatric and acute care hospital of discharging hundreds of homeless patients at Union Station downtown.
“The hospital’s blatant disregard for the law and its patients’ well-being cannot be ignored or go unpunished,” said Lacey, in a statement. “Our homeless community deserves to be treated with the same humanity, dignity and respect that any of us would expect, especially from those tasked with our care and protection.”
As part of the settlement, the 212-bed hospital with locations in Westlake and Rosemead must spend $550,000 on a new Homeless Patient Assistance Program, with new protocols for properly discharging patients.
“Patient dumping is an outrage and should never happen again – to anyone,” Feuer said.
The hospital, once known as City of Angels Medical Center, changed its name in 2009 to Silver Lake Medical Center after its owners were charged with recruiting homeless people for unneeded treatment to defraud Medicare and Medical out of millions of dollars.
The U.S. Department of Justice reached a $10 million consent judgment with Los Angeles businessman Robert Bourseau and Dr. Rudra Sabaratnam, its chief executive. Both served time in federal prison and were ordered to pay $4.1 million in restitution for illegal kickbacks for patient referrals.
Last week, the City Attorney’s Office wrested a $450,000 settlement from Avalon Villa Care Center in Willowbrook South Los Angeles after it allegedly dumped a 51-year-old homeless man with diabetes on Skid Row without any insulin.
To combat such practices, city and county prosecutors announced they would host a joint Summit on Humanely Discharging Homeless Patients this summer.
Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.