A Glendale hospital has agreed to pay $700,000 in civil penalties to settle a lawsuit accusing it of dumping a homeless patient on skid row in June, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer announced Wednesday.
Glendale Adventist Medical Center also agreed to adopt new discharge policies in response to the city attorney's suit, which alleged the hospital improperly transported homeless patients without their consent over four years.
"Every discharged patient, homeless or housed, should be able to recuperate with dignity," Feuer said in a written statement.
Glendale Adventist admits no wrongdoing and cooperated in the probe, the statement said.
"We strongly disagree with the allegations in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s complaint, but we chose to resolve this matter to avoid the very high cost of refuting these allegations," hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez said in an email. She added that the hospital had adjusted its discharge policies to "further align with the City of Los Angeles' specific protocols."
The lawsuit, filed last week, is the third Feuer has brought since January alleging patient-dumping on skid row by suburban hospitals.
Earlier this year, he reached six-figure settlements with Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley and Montebello-based Beverly Hospital.
But the Glendale Adventist case is by far the most significant.
The 515-bed, acute-care hospital is the flagship of Adventist Health, which runs 19 hospitals and clinics centers in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, and a county-designated site for psychiatric patients brought in on involuntary detention holds.
"This is a bigger problem than just skid row," said Ryan L. Navales, government and public affairs manager at the Midnight Mission, which operates a skid row shelter.
Glendale Adventist will donate $100,000 of the penalty money to L.A. Family Housing, a homeless service provider in North Hollywood, authorities said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times