For decades we have been told that we should not have a socialized or national healthcare plan in the United States because this country has the best healthcare system in the world. Obviously the coronavirus pandemic and the total absence of medical coverage or testing ability or adequate space in hospitals proves that that was always a lie.
I draw cartoons for The Los Angeles Times about issues related to California and the Southland (metro Los Angeles).
“In 2005 and 2006, patient dumping on L.A.’s skid row grabbed national headlines with images of mentally ill patients in hospital gowns, one holding a colostomy bag, being dropped off in ambulances, taxis and vans,” Richard Winton of The Times remembers. Major hospitals, including Kaiser Permanente, were forced to admit routinely driving indigent patients downtown, dumping them on the sidewalk and speeding off. “Hospitals don’t like dealing with homeless patients, who are often uninsured and sometimes unpleasant to treat. So they literally dump them on the streets of Skid Row, even if the patients come from other places in Los Angeles, and are in no condition to fend for themselves,” “60 Minutes” reported in 2007.
Most people thought the problem had abated since hospitals got slapped with major fines.
Alas, we were wrong.
“In a settlement announced Friday, the 224-bed Beverly Hospital in Montebello agreed to pay $250,000 in civil penalties and legal fees after it was accused of taking a patient by taxi to skid row and leaving her there without making any arrangements with a shelter,” Winton reports.
So Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says he’s going after this miscreants.
Which brings me into the picture. I want to help!
For a hospital like Beverly, a quarter million bucks is a drop in the bucket. It’s cheaper for them to pay the occasional penalty than to give proper care to every patient who walks or rolls through the ER doors. From now on, therefore, I humbly suggest that when cops and homeless shelters come across a case of patient dumping, they take the person to the hospital’s CEO. In Beverly Hospital’s case, that would be Gary Kipp.
I’m guessing that Kipp, with an annual salary of $400,000 that safely ensconces him in the top 1%, has a sweet crib with lots of spare room for sofa surfers. Maybe CEO Kipp can take in some of the nurses he is underpaying and refusing to let unionize, as well.