LHH's Changing Mission: “Social Rehabilitation Center”

The following e-mail was recently posted to the Union of American Physician’s and Dentist’s (UAPD) listserve.

Editorial Note: The meeting described below occurred just minutes after a letter was delivered to Mayor Gavin Newsom requesting a meeting between the Medical Staff at LHH and the Mayor.  The meeting with Dr. Katz was not an outcome of the letter to the Mayor, nor was it a substitute for the doctor's requested meeting with the Mayor.  Editorial explanatory material is noted in green text.

Subject: Laguna Honda: Homeless Facility, not a SNF under Dr. Katz?
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 08:55:13 -0700
From: <snip>
To:    SF UAPD Listserve <UAPD-SF@yahoogroups.com>

The Vision and Leadership of Dr. Mitchell Katz/Laguna Honda-forwarded by reliable Laguna Honda Medical Staff [Member] — is this what San Franciscans voted for?

Third hand reports related to today’s LHH Executive Committee Meeting are for your consideration — not action.  Please verify these indirect and hearsay interpretations with someone who attended the meeting.

Dr. Mitchell Katz introduced one John Kanaley as the soon to be LHH CEO to the Hospital Executive Committee today.  Dr. Katz was variously described as being under pressure, unusually nervous, etc.  However, he delivered a 45 minute oration which included his vision for LHH [as being] a “social rehabilitation facility for the homeless poor.”  [Editor’s Note: The Health Commission is now putting spin control to work, denying that Dr. Katz used these words.  At the October 28 LHH Joint Conference Committee, one of the Health Commissioner’s noted that Dr. Katz had simply "used a poor choice of words," but a source who witnessed the meeting notes these were the words Katz used before the Hospital Executive Committee.]  Future CEO Canaley, reportedly an associate-COO at SFGH, with some operations experience at Kaiser Fresno and no long-term care experience, took notes for the duration. Interestingly, Mr. Canaley had previously stated he would not come to LHH while Larry Funk was still CEO, out of respect for Larry Funk.

The Health Director opined at length on the deficiencies he perceived at LHH in regards to 3 patients with challenging behaviors and complex psycho-social needs. His more pointed critique was directed at LHH Social Work staff, although my sources indicate that Dr. Mitchell Katz's understanding and knowledge of the patients and the services they received was surprisingly simplistic, slanted and inaccurate. He was not openly challenged on his clinical misconceptions at the meeting, apparently. Dr. Mitchell Katz also took the opportunity to magnify the modest contributions made by SFGH staff when one of those patients was temporarily transferred there.

Toward the end of the meeting Dr. Mitchell Katz apparently exhibited powerful leadership by throwing out the question to the effect of:  Will you be able to get your staff behind what we are trying to do in this new model of care?

At this time, I have no information about the response to this query.

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