Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hollywood hospital adopts new policy for homeless

LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, whose discharge of a paraplegic man onto skid row earlier this year was widely publicized, says it will adopt new guidelines meant to end the dumping of homeless patients.

The hospital said Friday that it would create new protocols and provide more staff training for discharging homeless patients. The country's largest health maintenance organization, Kaiser Permanente, announced similar reforms on Tuesday.

In February, a 54-year-old paraplegic homeless man discharged from the hospital was found crawling on a street wearing a soiled hospital gown with a colostomy bag still attached.

Chief executive Kaylor Shemberger said Hollywood Presbyterian wanted to become "one of the first hospitals in Los Angeles to respond to the city attorney's request to get on board with the protocols."

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is investigating the February dumping.

"This announcement by itself doesn't impact our investigation," Delgadillo said.

Delgadillo had filed criminal charges against Kaiser Permanente over a dumped patient in November, and said he wanted to send a message to hospitals countrywide engaged in patient dumping.

Los Angeles authorities are investigating allegations that a dozen area hospitals have dumped more than 50 homeless patients downtown.
source : www.ctv.ca

1 comment:

Danny Vice said...

The last time I was unfortunate enough to require hospital care, I stayed for a few hours and the hospital ran some routine tests. The bill ran into the thousands although the tests conducted were simple $75 clinical sample tests.

Private hospitals thrive on massive revenue, city subsidies and tax advantages. How often after all do you see a hospital having a "going out of business" sale? What would a used bed pad be worth anyway?

Hospitals who thrive on it's monopoly of the sick while receiving perks and incentives from public sources should be banned from releasing a patient into a potentially harmful environment that's incompatible with his/her ailments.

The fact that the hospital should be sued in order to compel the hospital into civilized health practices is an outrage. Our government has seen fit to regulate everything else in hospital operations, yet the user of those operations is beholden to the hospitals option of securing their welfare?

Perhaps a private hospital can't be forced to provide treatment, but it should certainly be required to insure that it doesn't release patients into an environment that is likely to make the condition(s) worse.

If it's true that the hospital made a commitment to change their practice and still has not, then I would expect (and hope) that the hospital will be sued senseless to established a precedent in this case that equals the apathy it has shown towards it's customers (patients). We'll be watching this case to see what the legal outcome is.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice