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Rally To Stop The San Francisco Laguna Honda Discharges Defend Laguna Honda Hospital

Thursday, May 18, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
United Front Committee For A Labor Party
Location Details:
375 Laguna Honda Blvd across from Forrest Hill Muni Station
San Francisco

May 18th Rally To Stop The San Francisco Laguna Honda Discharges

Defend Laguna Honda Hospital-Stop The Discharges & Murders Discharges = Death

Working People Need To Unite For Our Public Hospital

Discharges = Death

Speak-out and rally

Thursday May 18th, 2023 4PM
375 Laguna Honda Blvd across from Forrest Hill Muni Station
San Francisco

Despite mass opposition, Newsom’s Department of Public Health, Secretary of Health & Education Xavier Becerra and SF Mayor London Breed’s Director of Department of Public Health and Health Commission Board are allowing the patients to be terrorized again by threatening to discharge them on May 19. 2023.

The City refuses to ask for an exemption that would allow Laguna Honda to have three patients to a room and also to allow the many patients who are waiting for care at the hospital to be admitted.

Instead they are playing games with the workers, patients and their families to threaten even more discharges and deaths. Director Colfax and the Board of Health Commission Dan Bernal, who is chief of staff for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi gave the go ahead for the discharge of patients which led to their deaths. Some were driven to homeless shelters. These discharges were death sentences and to threaten similar discharges and deaths.

There is an emergency in our private nursing home care system. The homes are run by billionaires with little to no oversight have terrible working conditions for the residents and the workers. The Newsom administration and the Federal government are demanding that the
patients and residents be pushed into these homes where much of the care is substandard.
We need to demand that Newsom and Becerra along with London Breed be held accoutable for this travesty.

No bed cuts, No closure and No evictions, Reopen admissions, and provide, in safe and appropriate locations, mental health and substance use treatment and supports and home care services to all San Franciscans who need it.

Initiated By United Front Committtee for A Labor Party
info [at]

We Need to Demand: No Complete Closure of Laguna Honda,
No Bed Cuts, and Admissions Must Resume

We Also Need to Hold City Managers and Employees Responsible
for LHH’s Mess Accountable, Up to and Including Termination

When I first published this article a little over a week ago, LHH’s census stood at 537 as of April 14. Eight days later it dropped to 530 residents, probably due to patients who requested being discharged home or to another facility, transferred to an acute care hospital, went AWOL (eloped), no longer needed skilled nursing level of care, or may have expired at LHH.

A table in this new article shows the change in types of patients being cared for at LHH between the time it was decertified in April 2022 to the remaining resident census when the “Revised LHH Closure Plan” was released to the public on Friday April 21.

Between October 14, 2021 and April 14, 2023 LHH’s patient census has dropped by 157, from 710 residents to now just 537.

The Revised LHH Closure Plan shows that of LHH’s 537 current remaining residents, 34 patients have advanced dementia and are at high risk of wandering and elopement who are on a locked/secured memory unit; 142 are in need of memory care for moderate- to advanced-cognitive deficits; 85 are monolingual patients needing SNF level of care; 34 patients are in need of shorter-term skilled nursing rehabilitation; 44 are HIV/AIDS patients; 43 are receiving palliative care or hospice care; and 105 residents have complex medical problems needing total care and high levels of support. All of them are at high risk of eviction.

Obviously the 105 patients (19.6%) who have multiple medical problems and the 176 residents (32.8%) having advanced dementia’s or moderate-to-advanced dementia’s should not be discharged from LHH.

Additionally, 82 residents (15.3%) either lack decision-making capacity and have no decision-maker, or have — or are pending — a public conservator, and another 301 residents (56.1% of the 537 residents) have a surrogate decision-maker for them, incapable of making their own informed healthcare decisions. There’s clearly overlap between the conserved patients and those with specific medical conditions.

Unfortunately, as this article shows, the Revised LHH Closure Plan is worrisome, precisely because CMS and CDPH expect LHH may need to resume evicting LHH’s residents as early as May 20 — just 14 days from now — if CMS doesn’t extend the pause on discharges and transfers set to expire on May 19. It’s cruel that CMS hasn’t yet granted an extension to resumption of the discharges and transfers — and may not do so until the night before, perhaps on May 18. Everyone’s holding their breath to see if a last-minute reprieve arrives to extend that pause beyond May 19.

The article also describes the dearth of various types of beds currently available in different types of facilities in San Francisco.

And sadly, the Revised LHH Closure Plan barely acknowledges that the 99% of LHH’s residents who rely on Medi-Cal have nowhere to go in San Francisco, because few San Francisco facilities even accept Medi-Cal patients.

Signing on to a petition at could be the most important thing you and your friends and family could do today!

As well, San Francisco’s Gray Panthers organization has stated we must continue the community outcry to every agency involved. Follow the Gray Panther’s “Call to Action” here to obtain advice on talking points and providing testimony to the Board of Supervisors on May 9.

Patrick Monette-Shaw
Westside Observer Newspaper

U.S. health secretary Becerra tours Laguna Honda, says ‘stay tuned’ on hospital’s fate

Nanette Asimov
Feb. 24, 2023

Like adversaries seeking detente, both sides in the conflict over the fate of San Francisco’s Laguna Honda nursing home met Friday and walked together through the beleaguered facility that is home to 550 frail and low-income city residents.

This was the first visit to the nation’s largest public nursing home for Xavier Becerra, the Health and Human Services secretary who oversees the federal agency that decertified Laguna Honda nearly a year ago.

That action on April 14 — six months after state inspectors said the public facility offered “substandard care” — was expected to end Medicare and MediCal reimbursements to Laguna Honda in a matter of months, starving it of two-thirds of its annual budget of $334 million and forcing it to shut down. But a legal settlement between the city and federal regulators gave it until next November to achieve recertification and avoid closure.

Laguna Honda’s administrators, county health officials and advocates for the facility’s residents have been fighting for its survival ever since. The nursing home had 700 residents last year, but no one has been admitted since decertification.

Becerra took a private tour Friday with San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed, the city’s Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax, and Roland Pickens, Laguna Honda’s interim chief executive. Afterward, Becerra said it was “gratifying to see a place where, if you’re going to have to leave a loved one, they’ll be treated with dignity.”

He said he met with staff who were candid with him about the challenges Laguna Honda faces in regaining its certification. He said he also spoke with patients, and that “most said, ‘Help keep Laguna Honda open!’ ”

Will he?

“Stay tuned,” said Becerra, who grew up in Sacramento and served as California’s attorney general before President Biden tapped him for the cabinet position.

Now, administrators are working with certification experts on a top-to-bottom overhaul to try and meet deadlines.

Colfax, whose health department runs Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, said the facility has “come a long way in holding ourselves accountable.” He said the staff has met all 126 “action milestones” set for it in January, and is on track to meet the 133 milestones set for February.

Pickens said these mainly have to do with infection control and proper coordination among caregivers — “but at the end of the day, it’s about regulatory compliance and keeping our residents safe.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra says of Laguna Honda: “A facility like this is critical to a community.”

Salgu Wissmath/The Chronicle

Some of the medically fragile residents of Laguna Honda have lived there for decades.
Last summer, regulators with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which Becerra oversees, ordered the facility to move out every resident in preparation for closure.

Laguna Honda was able to transfer or discharge just 57 people because few skilled nursing facilities exist in the Bay Area that treat complex medical conditions and accept MediCal, California’s version of Medicaid.

When 12 of the people who were moved died soon afterward, officials suspected “transfer trauma,” which led to a public outcry. CMS paused the relocations in July. But they are set to resume on May 19 unless Laguna Honda shows it has made sufficient progress toward recertification.

While the nursing home’s advocates agree that Laguna Honda’s operations and practices need improvement, most have strenuously objected to what they consider an excessive punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.

Some blame Becerra for allowing the threat of closure to loom over Laguna Honda.

On Feb. 10, for example, Supervisor Hillary Ronen boycotted San Francisco General Hospital’s 150th anniversary celebration because she believed the evening was honoring Becerra. (It was actually Nancy Pelosi, said Kim Meredith, chief executive of the hospital’s foundation.) In a letter to the foundation, Ronen wrote that “instead of offering to assist the city, Becerra and his employees have done everything to threaten and punish Laguna Honda, and by extension, its patients.”

San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax (left) and Laguna Honda interim CEO Roland Pickens discuss the facility's future.

San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax (left) and Laguna Honda interim CEO Roland Pickens discuss the facility's future.

Salgu Wissmath/The Chronicle

On Friday, however, Ronen told The Chronicle she was happy that Becerra was “finally visiting this critical institution” to “personally see the poorest and sickest San Franciscans who would likely be on the street if not for Laguna Honda.”

Supervisor Myrna Melgar was out of the country Friday and unable to join the tour. Her district includes Laguna Honda, which sits at the southwest base of Twin Peaks.

But at the San Francisco General event Becerra attended this month, Melgar asked to sit next to him so that she could “bend his ear” about Laguna Honda, said her aide, Mike Farrah.

“Obviously, the relationship started poorly,” Farrah said. “But we are excited about the secretary’s visit to see firsthand the lives that are affected at Laguna Honda.”

Asked what he learned from his visit, Becerra said, “There are Americans who need to have someone who cares for them, and, unfortunately, there are a lot of Americans who don’t have family who can do that.

“We’re trying to do what we can to make sure we don’t let folks die on the street. A facility like this is critical to a community.”

At the same time, he said, people who send their family to Laguna Honda need to know that “the health and safety standards we would all expect are being provided.”

Reach Nanette Asimov: nasimov [at]; Twitter: @NanetteAsimov
Added to the calendar on Fri, May 12, 2023 10:54PM
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