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Protect Laguna Honda for Seniors and Disabled

Monday, November 14, 2005
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type:
Michael Lyon
Location Details:

Protect Laguna Honda Hospital for Seniors and the Disabled.

Come to a Noon Rally and Supervisor's Hearing on the Future of Laguna Honda

Monday, Nov. 14, City Hall

Noon: SEIU 790 Rally on City Hall Steps

1 PM: Supervisors Hearing in Room 263, or Main Chamber if enough people come.

There is an urgent need for health workers, City residents, and advocates for seniors and disabled to protect Laguna Honda Hospital by coming to a rally and a Supervisors' hearing on Monday, November 14.

The City is considering a plan to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital with almost one-third fewer beds, and turn many of the remaining beds over to patients with behavioral and social problems who are discharged from San Francisco General Hospital when their state funding runs out.

DPH's own data shows that by 2020 San Francisco will lack over 1,000 affordable nursing home beds for seniors and disabled people, even if Laguna Honda is rebuilt at its current capacity of 1,200 beds and determined efforts are made to also build much-needed alternative community-based long-term care. If alternative long-term care is not built, the need for Laguna Honda beds will be even more severe.

On Nov 14, the Supervisors' Government Audit and Oversight Committee will consider a July 2005 audit by Health Management Associates, which the Health Department requested. In addition to plans for downsizing Laguna Honda and shifting the patient population away from the elderly, frail, and disabled, the audit calls for (1) merging Laguna Honda and San Francisco General into a single entity with a single license and using Laguna Honda for “hard to place” patients with “special needs,” instead of the traditional population, and (2) using private nursing homes and Alameda and San Mateo County facilities to meet San Francisco's nursing home needs.

Questions of whether the City is trying to divest itself of long-term care responsibilities have been increased by the sudden announcement of a Supervisors’ hearing on San Francisco’s long-term care infrastructure at 1 PM, Thursday, Nov. 10 in the Main Chamber. Advocates are also urged to attend this hearing.

The City cannot solve its financial and health problems by taking from some people and promising to give to others. Cuts in City and private facilities and programs for the mentally ill, the homeless, and substance abusers, coupled with financial pressures on SF General and the derailing of the Mental Health Rehab Facility have created a crisis which the City is trying to solve by taking nursing home care from the elderly and disabled.

We can see the results in the City's earlier moves to force mentally ill and other inappropriate SF General Hospital patients into Laguna Honda over doctors' objections. There were attacks and injuries to other patients and staff, and numerous citations by government agencies that endangered Laguna Honda's certification. Moreover, Laguna Honda was not available to San Francisco residents who needed it.

San Francisco is one of the richest cities in the country. It can, and must, provide elders and disabled with long-term care in nursing homes and in the community, as well as providing services for the mentally ill, homeless people, and substance abusers.

Michael Lyon
SF Gray Panthers
Added to the calendar on Sun, Nov 6, 2005 2:11PM
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