San Francisco’s public health system is facing a crisis when it comes to providing beds to some of its most vulnerable patients, but a major care provider in Chinatown just got a financial boost that should help the city’s Asian American community.
Chinese Hospital, the only independent hospital in the city, will receive a $5 million state budget grant to build a sub-acute care unit, which is a lower-level medical supervision ward compared to acute care. However, it still requires comprehensive inpatient care with round-the-clock doctors and nurses who have specialized training to handle emergencies.
Phil Ting, a Chinese American state assemblymember from San Francisco who chairs the Legislature's Budget Committee, spearheaded the grant.
“Chinese Hospital is probably one of the most important institutions for the Chinese American community here in San Francisco,” Ting said in an interview Monday. “This was the only place to get health care for our community for decades.”
The money will help create 30 more sub-acute beds, in addition to the 23 existing beds in the hospital awaiting federal and state licensing. This is the first time the Chinese Hospital has received state funding.
San Francisco may have to figure out placement for patients at Laguna Honda Hospital, the long-term skilled nursing facility that has been threatened with a potential closure. Jian Zhang, CEO of the Chinese Hospital, said that the facility’s total of 53 beds will be a “mix” of sub-acute care and long-term skilled nursing, which means they will be able to absorb patient transfers.
Zhang applauded the creation of a hospital-based sub-acute unit, which will be the only public unit in the city, adding that it will help alleviate the burden on the local area’s healthcare system. The Standard previously reported that vulnerable patients are forced to seek care outside of the city as no sub-acute beds are available in San Francisco.
In addition to helping the Chinese Hospital, Ting has been vocal on investing in local Asian communities as the state’s budget chair.
Last year, he secured more than $30 million to build a Chinatown arts and culture center. This year, the state budget allocated $4 million for Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square and $6 million for the Japantown Peace Plaza.
Newly elected Assemblymember Matt Haney, who also represents San Francisco, joined forces with Ting to secure $850,000 for the Chinese Historical Society of America, a museum currently hosting the Bruce Lee exhibition.
“This year's budget was a very large surplus,” Ting said. “So, we're very fortunate that San Francisco is able to really benefit a lot.”
Han Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org