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Laguna Honda Hospital Patients Hit with Mass Eviction Notices as City Fights to Avert Closure
Monday, July 04, 2022

Laguna Honda Hospital Patients Hit with Mass Eviction Notices as City Fights to Avert Closure

Residents of Laguna Honda Hospital, a 700-bed skilled nursing facility run by San Francisco, received notices Monday saying they could be evicted as part of a closure plan mandated by federal regulators, who have threatened to pull funding after two patients suffered nonfatal overdoses last year.

Many of the patients would have no place to go if they were evicted, said an official with Mayor London Breed’s administration. The notices do not mean an eviction will necessarily take place as the city has tools to keep the facility open, the official said.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who had called for hearings to address the federal funding crisis at Laguna Honda, said mass evictions could worsen a city homelessness crisis that recent data said was improving.

“This is one of the largest crises I’ve seen in over 20 years I’ve been in and out of office,” said Peskin, “with real human beings being taken care of by the city, being blown to the four winds.”

The notice said Laguna Honda is required to transfer or discharge all of its current patients by mid-September, with a possible two-month extension. The plan, and notification of patients, was a requirement for federal regulators to consider reinstating the hospital’s crucial Medicare and Medi-Cal funding.

Monday’s notice was dubbed a “Closure and Patient Transfer and Relocation Plan,” which would “ensure the safe, orderly, and clinically appropriate transfer or discharge of each patient with a minimum amount of stress.”

But given the already acute shortage of nursing beds in California, such a pledge is impossible, said Mike Connor of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a lobbying group. Moving infirm or elderly patients from nursing facilities often causes trauma that can result in death. For that reason, federal and state laws forbid moving patients without plausible steps in place to ensure their safety.

“Our advice to Laguna Honda residents is to stay put, and if they receive transfer and discharge notices, they should appeal them immediately,” Connor said. “Nursing home laws have strong protections against unsafe transfer. They can win these appeals.”

Laguna Honda is one of the largest U.S. facilities offering skilled nursing care for people with problems such as drug addiction, dementia and other illnesses, or who are unable to walk or have other long-term medical problems.

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U.S. authorities had threatened to pull Medicare and Medicaid funding for patients at the facility unless San Francisco set up a plan to solve problems such as drug use, hygiene, patient care and infection prevention.

Hospital officials have expressed confidence in being able to regain certification with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. But after follow-up inspections the agency announced that on April 14 it would terminate the hospital’s funding relationship with the Medicare program. Medicare and Medi-Cal payments account for approximately two-thirds of Laguna Honda’s $300 million budget. 

Laguna Honda’s ordeal began in October, when state inspectors said the hospital was doing an inadequate job of barring drug paraphernalia. The city said it addressed the drug contraband problem. But a follow up federal report in April said there were still problems with assessing patients, with creating care plans and with the quality of care.

In response, the city has hired outside experts in getting hospitals re-certified, and moved staff to the facility to prepare for the next federal inspection, according to a city memo.

Matt Smith can be reached at [email protected].
  • Unbelievable — more incompetence/corruption at our government-run institutions;

    City College of San Francisco (insolvency),

    San Francisco Unified School District (hemorrhaging teaching staff)

    Dept of Building Inspection (rampant corruption; former leadership under Federal indictment)

    San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (corruption and rot at the top; former leadership under Federal indictment)

    Department of Public Works (thoroughly corrupt; former leadership under Federal indictment)

    Department of the Environment (corruption; allowing million$ in illegal/over-charges by sole sourcing trash/recycling services to Ecology.)

    Mayor’s office of Homelessness Services (hundreds of supportive housing units sit vacant — for years!),

    Office of the District Attorney (fleckless, incompetent management,misplaced priorities, increasing property crime,runaway fentanyl dealing in the Tenderloin),

    San Francisco Police Dept. (refusing to pursue property crimes and make arrests, excessive use of force)

    San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (every single capital project goes wildly over budget and over schedule — takes 5+ years to paint “red bus lanes”; first approved in 2003, construction start 2017, completion2022; $40M over budget and 3 years late; numerous businesses financially ruined.)

    and now Laguna Honda.

    Seriously?

    And the City believes that it could competently run a proposed public bank or take over responsibility for gas and electric utility services? Even as bad as P,G&E is, it’s all but certain that SF City government would be catastrophically worse!

  • Woah this story IS completely false! They are doing these steps to move people around in ORDER TO STAY OPEN! How did this get published? I mean wow. The SF Standard is becoming the SF lowest common denominator.

  • Karl, Thank you for summing up my thoughts perfectly. There is a very nasty undercurrent running through city hall.

  • Karl, thank you for the summing up. How do we change this? Two ways, get rid of ranked choice voting and make the supervisor’s run citywide. The original reason to make it district was to allow for “minority voices to be heard”. I guess it was the corrupt voices which were heard. Citywide elections. Simplify voting, no Ranked Choices, Straight Choices.

  • I guarantee you it is a plan to steal the real estate for their “smart city” or some other scheme. These people can make problems disappear if they want to. They have their eyes on that property. I wonder what their next plan is? All governments local, state and federal are just part of the same beast. They are one giant mafia in collusion together.

  • Corruption! They want the real estate so they look for excuses to shut places down so they can do as they wish. Pretty EVIL geniuses at work here with a well hatched plan. This place has been open for nearly a century and a half, just to be shut down by this diabolical administration of local government.

  • The real reason the city wants this place to stay open is all the federal reimbursement it provides for the city. For example, Cost for 1 patient housed in this skilled nursing home equals 1000 dollars a day depending on the way things are billed and coded in the system. Then it is billed that way to medicare and medicaid. This demonstrates the need for the federal dollars. So the city receive this money but in actuality spends maybe 250 dollars a day caring for the person and pocketing the rest of the federal funds. Using the same example 700-780 patients is 700-780k a day. Spending the bare minimum on the patient and using the excess for other city needs. Some patients cost more that 1000 dollars a day and some cost less. The bigger the trainwreck the patient is , the higher the cost that is billed. If it closes that’s a lot of revenue lost for the city. Not just jobs or homes.

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