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Hospitals sent homeless downtown after discharge

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three hospitals acknowledge putting discharged homeless patients into taxicabs and sending them to the downtown skid row area, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Representatives of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles and Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center said they were helping patients because skid row offers them their best chance of getting services and shelter.

Patients are sent to skid row only if they are healthy enough, the representatives said.

"One of the challenges is that there are very few places that will take patients coming out of the hospital, even when they are medically cleared," said Mehera Christian, a spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente Metro Los Angeles. "There are just a scarce number of places in the community to assist our homeless."