CREATED May. 2, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- University Medical Center claims that the patient dumping allegations coming out of Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital are crippling UMC's operations.
Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, a state-run facility, is accused of handing one way out-of-state bus tickets to mentally-ill patients.
This week, UMC declared a state of "internal disaster" and its blaming it all on Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.
When a mentally-ill patient needs to be hospitalized, UMC sends that person to Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital. Normally, the process goes smoothly. However, UMC tells Action News that transfer process fell apart after Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital began stalling.
UMC's Dr. Dale Carrison says, "Essentially about half of our beds were full of mentally-ill patients who had been medically cleared but had no place to go."
When the patients started piling up, the hospital was forced to declare a state of "internal disaster". In a 12-hour period from Monday to Tuesday, the UMC's adult emergency room had to shut its doors to incoming ambulances.
Dr. Carrison believes all the media attention slamming Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital's alleged patient dumping crisis has caused the psychiatric facility to slow down its patient intake process.
"They have more documentation and more paperwork than they had before so its taking them longer to process patients than it was prior to this [attention in the news]," says Dr. Carrison.
Yet the state claims its too early to draw conclusions.
In a statement to Action News, Mary Woods with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reports, "At this point ,I think it's reasonable to say if hospitals are experiencing a high volume of patients needing mental health services, we don't have enough information to make definitive determination as to the cause."
Woods also noted that the patient volume at Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital has decreased over the past month.
Late Thursday afternoon Action News learned that Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services is placing a psychologist at UMC Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help it manage its patient flow.