City Attorney Mike Feuer’s ongoing efforts to put an end to patient dumping have resulted in a $450,000 settlement with a south Los Angeles nursing home, Feuer announced during a news conference Thursday.
The settlement states that Avalon Villa Care Center in Willowbrook evicted a diabetic patient who was recovering from a partial foot amputation.
Staff at the facility are accused of dropping off the 51-year-old patient, Ronald Anderson, at Union Rescue Mission, a private homeless shelter in downtown L.A.’s Skid Row.
Anderson alleges that he never signed discharge papers but was left at the shelter without insulin, Feuer said.
Moreover, the Rev. Andy Bales, who heads the rescue mission, said no arrangements were made to confirm Anderson’s arrival.
Bales, who is also diabetic and previously underwent an amputation, said Thursday that though the shelter was unprepared for Anderson’s arrival, he welcomed him “like a brother.”
Still, the shelter accommodated Anderson by purchasing an $18,000 hospital bed so that he could be comfortable during his recovery, Bales said.
Feuer referred to dumping patients as “dehumanizing and very frightening.”
Of the settlement’s $450,000 fine, Avalon Villa will pay $75,000 in civil penalties and $50,000 will be put toward housing homeless patients who are unable to find shelter post-care, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The facility will also have to cooperate with the city attorney's office to follow a list of protocol procedures designed to protect homeless patients, Feuer said.
The newspaper reports that $325,000 will be designated to training staff in these discharge protocols, which will be created by Feuer and his office.
By agreeing to the settlement, the facility also must ensure what the city attorney refers to as “warm hand-offs” that require arrangements to be solidified with other facilities that will accommodate the patient after relocation.
Representatives for Avalon Villa issued a statement Thursday stating that it is already doing “most of, if not all” of the elements required by the injunction.
The statement states that the center “strongly disputes that it has inappropriately discharged any patients” and “rejects the allegation of the City Attorney,” but it agreed to the settlement to “preserve resources for patients and staff rather than attorneys.”
Feuer's office has set up an emergency hotline for the public to report cases: 213-978-8340.