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Texas bill would ban ‘patient dumping’ by mental hospitals

raquelpadilla1Express-News Reporter Karisa King wrote a follow-up story today about mentally ill patients who are dropped off at bus stations and left to fend for themselves. There’s now a bill in the Texas Legislature that attempts to fix the problem. If the bill becomes law, it will require the state’s mental hospitals to devise a specific transportation plan for each patient released from their care.

The bill, written by state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, is a response to an article we wrote earlier this year about the death of a patient who had been released from the San Antonio State Hospital:

No one knows how Raquel Padilla died. Not police. Not medical examiners. And not her family members, who had entrusted her to the San Antonio State Hospital for people with serious mental illness.

About the only thing clear about her final days is that Padilla, who was 54 and had schizophrenia and mild mental retardation, had been in the care of state hospital workers Dec. 20 when they handed her a bus ticket home to Del Rio and dropped her off at the downtown Greyhound Bus Station.

Three days later, she was found dead.

Uresti’s Senate Bill 2079 passed the senate and is currently winding its way through the Texas House.