Nevada Bused 1.5K Mentally Ill to Other States

State officials defend policy, but critics say dangerous for patients

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 20, 2013 4:18 PM CDT

(Newser) – States all over America are wrestling with what to do about the tough, enduring, and expensive problem of mental illness. But Nevada came up with an innovative solution—bus them out of state. Since 2008, Nevada's top mental hospital has shipped out 1,500 people, sending at least one to every state in the continental US, reports the Sacramento Bee. The biggest destination was California, which accounted for about one-third of the busing.

Last year alone, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital shipped out 400 patients to other states, sometimes making no arrangements for housing or treatment in their destinations, although officials at the hospital insist that those bused are stable and have family waiting for them. "It's offensive to me that they would show this lack of care for a client," says a mental health official in San Francisco. But with hospital stays costing about $500 per day, a bus ticket can prove to be a big savings for a cash-strapped state.

Nevada is being criticized for shipping 1,500 mentally ill people to other states by bus over the past five years.
Nevada is being criticized for shipping 1,500 mentally ill people to other states by bus over the past five years.   (Shutterstock)
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