LOS ANGELES - Lawyers from the ACLU of Southern California and Public Counsel joined L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to announce a settlement in our lawsuit on behalf of a 64-year-old woman found wandering on Skid Row. Delgadillo also announced a settlement of the criminal charges the city filed against Kaiser Permanente, the hospital chain accused of dumping her there. The joint settlements provide new policies that will end alleged patient dumping by Kaiser and establish new model practices for other hospitals to follow.
Kaiser agreed to adopt new discharge protocols for homeless patients and training procedures for hospital staff members who work with them. The court will appoint retired U.S. District Court Judge Lourdes G. Baird to oversee the agreement. The terms of the civil settlement are confidential.
Carol Ann Reyes was discharged from Kaiser's Bellflower hospital in March 2006 and dropped 16 miles away outside the Union Rescue Mission in downtown L.A. Video of her wandering Skid Row in a hospital gown sparked calls to end the hospital practice of dumping homeless patients on the street or at shelters that are unprepared to take them.
'What happened to Ms. Reyes was disgraceful, and this agreement will help bring dignity back to the treatment of homeless people in this city's hospitals,' said ACLU/SC Legal Director Mark Rosenbaum. 'The comprehensive settlement marks an historic turning point in the treatment of the homeless, beginning a healing process with the cure of caring and compassion.'
'The settlement marks the end of a nightmare for Ms. Reyes and a new beginning for our city in how we treat some of our most vulnerable members,' said Public Counsel President and CEO Dan Grunfeld. 'Something good will come out of what happened to Carol Ann.'
The ACLU/SC and Public Counsel are investigating the case of a paraplegic man left on Skid Row in February without his wheelchair after being discharged from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. No criminal charges or civil actions have been filed in that case.