Nevada has been shipping mental health patients out of state as it has cut funding for mental health services, according to a Sacramento Bee investigation.
In recent years, as Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of mentally ill patients being bused out of southern Nevada has steadily risen, growing 66 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that same period, the hospital has dispersed those patients to an ever-increasing number of states.
Cynthia Hubert, Phillip Reese and Jim Sanders report that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, the primary state psychiatric hospital, put more than 1,500 patients on Greyhound buses bound for other cities.
The reporters reviewed bus receipts kept by Nevada’s mental health division. Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services has had a contract with Greyhound since July 2009, a bus company spokesman said. He also revealed that “Greyhound has contracts with ‘a number’ of hospitals around the country, but declined to identify them.”
Mental health professionals in other places are quoted as saying putting someone with a mental illness on a bus is risky and several said their counties don’t do it.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is investigating Rawson-Neal and the situation has prompted statements from California’s Senate president and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
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