California lawmaker seeks investigation of Nevada’s treatment of mentally ill

A top California lawmaker sent a letter to federal health authorities suggesting U.S. officials investigate whether Nevada dumped mentally ill patients on the Golden State, the legislator’s office confirmed Tuesday.

Sen. Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat who is president pro tempore, sent the letter late Monday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He said he wanted to “bring attention” to Nevada’s use of “Greyhound Therapy,” giving at least five mentally ill patients one-way tickets to California to seek care.

The allegations stem from a story published last Friday by the Sacramento Bee about a mentally ill man, James F. Brown, who arrived in Sacramento, Calif., by bus Feb. 12 with discharge papers from Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. Brown told social workers he didn’t know anyone in Sacramento and was forced to leave a state-run psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas. He alleged four other patients also were bused out of state.

Nevada authorities said the state doesn’t engage in patient dumping. State health officials opened investigations to determine why the 48-year-old Brown was sent to Sacramento.

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