The LA Times publishes a story
that Los Angeles area hospitals regularly sends homeless patients by
taxi to skid row when there is nowhere else to discharge them.
West Los Angeles and Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center said
the practice is necessary because skid row is the only place in
Southern California with a concentration of social services for the
patients, including homeless shelters and drug and alcohol programs.
Los Angeles Police Department officials agreed that the hospitals have
few other options. But they said the practice worsens the already grim
conditions on skid row. They also disputed the hospitals' contention
that the patients taken to skid row are always ready for release.
The hospitals are the first agencies to acknowledge a practice of
routinely delivering their wards to skid row. They did so after being
named in a report by the LAPD that accused the three hospitals and
several suburban law enforcement agencies of leaving homeless people
and criminals in downtown. The suburban police departments have denied
The new disclosures come at a time of heightened public debate
about the practice of "dumping" indigent people in the heart of
downtown Los Angeles. Earlier this week, city and state officials
pledged a new attack on the area's persistent problems, beginning with
a crackdown on rampant drug dealing, which police say generates roughly
one-fifth of the city's drug arrests.
Workers at skid row social service agencies this week said several
other hospitals discharge patients in the area. Those reports could not
This is a sad problem, with no easy solution (including single payer health care).
[Hat tip FierceHealthcare]