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Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Responds to ACLU Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has held extensive settlement discussions with the Public Counsel and the ACLU to resolve this case and despite their apparent negotiating tactic we remain optimistic that these discussions will result in an agreement satisfactory to the parties.

The filing of a lawsuit was unnecessary given the progress of our discussions and the fact that HPMC did not receive any document outlining Mr. Olvera's specific claims until a few weeks ago, which has hindered resolution.

The plight of homeless individuals, and the provision of healthcare, is a critical social issue, but the homeless problem can't be solved by HPMC alone. The solutions must come from government, but we are committed to doing our part.

We have stated publicly since the day of this incident that HPMC would never condone dropping an individual at a location without their consent and where accommodations were not apparent. Beginning the day after this incident in February 2007, HPMC initiated a series of steps to ensure it was doing everything possible to prevent anything of the sort from happening again.

After a preliminary investigation of the February 7, 2007 incident, HPMC announced on February 13, 2007 that it had expanded the hospital's "on call" social services staff to cover off-hour placement of homeless patients and begun retraining emergency room personnel on the critical role of the hospital's clinical social workers and the special needs of the homeless.

After thorough review of the incident, HPMC:

-- revised patient discharge policies;

-- required that all patients who need ambulatory assistance receive the

appropriate durable medical equipment upon discharge;

-- placed a referral board in the emergency room to keep written record of

individuals, discharged or not, who might need social services;

-- required emergency room staff to conduct hourly rounds of the lobby to

ensure the needs of any discharged patients are identified, and

-- required our security and transportation contractors to provide signed

acknowledgment of their understanding and commitment to adhere to

hospital policies.

On May 18, 2007, three days after the announcement of a court-approved settlement agreement between the Los Angeles City Attorney and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, HPMC announced it was adopting the same protocols for discharging homeless patients contained in the settlement agreement and would train its staff in accordance with the training required by the settlement. These protocols exceed those required by law and followed by most hospitals.

HPMC has implemented the Kaiser settlement protocols and training, and is in productive discussions with the City Attorney's Office to resolve the issues that remain.

Contact: Tony Knight or Bob Emmers

Sitrick And Company


SOURCE Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
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