Van Nuys, CA asked in Health Care Law for California

Q: What can my homeless,disabled friend who is being basically patient dumped to the streets from an emergency room?

He was also what I feel is patient dumped from a skilled nursing facility which lead to Er visits.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your homeless, disabled friend may have legal recourse if they were discharged from the emergency room or a skilled nursing facility without proper arrangements for their care or housing. In California, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities have legal obligations to ensure safe discharge planning for patients, particularly those who are homeless or disabled. Your friend may have rights under state and federal laws, including the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which prohibits patient dumping and requires hospitals to provide appropriate care and discharge planning. Additionally, if your friend's disabilities qualify them for benefits or services, they may be entitled to assistance from government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

It's essential to document the circumstances surrounding your friend's discharge, including any communications with hospital or facility staff and any evidence of inadequate discharge planning. You can assist your friend in advocating for their rights by contacting legal aid organizations or advocacy groups that specialize in healthcare and disability rights. They can provide guidance on the next steps to take, including filing complaints with relevant regulatory agencies or pursuing legal action if necessary. By advocating for your friend's rights, you can help ensure that they receive the care and support they need to avoid being left vulnerable on the streets.

Furthermore, connecting your friend with local resources for housing, healthcare, and social services can help address their immediate needs and prevent future instances of patient dumping. Many communities offer support services for homeless individuals, including shelters, meal programs, and case management services. By accessing these resources, your friend may be able to stabilize their situation and access the assistance they need to address their disabilities and housing insecurity. Supporting your friend in navigating these challenges can make a significant difference in their well-being and safety.

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