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West of Twin Peaks Observer
Save the Skilled
Nursing Beds at Laguna Honda Hospital
by John Farrell
In 1999, voters approved Prop A for the rebuild of Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH) which was to provide 1200 skilled nursing beds for San Francisco's frail elderly and physically disabled. To date, only 780 of these beds are scheduled to be built and if certain groups, such as San Francisco Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC) and Planning for Elders in the Central City (PECC), get their way there will be even fewer.
These groups are asking Mayor Newsom to divert the monies from the rebuild project to housing and services in the community leaving Laguna Honda Hospital with a much smaller skilled bed capacity than currently planned.
Cutting the already reduced 780 skilled nursing beds at LHH spells disaster. As our society grows older there will be an increased demand for facilities such as LHH that can provide skilled nursing beds. For example, the Northern California/Northern Nevada Alzheimers Association projects that by the year 2020; San Francisco will have 10,000 people over the age of 85 with Alzheimers.
Many San Francisco facilities are currently cutting their bed count. 120 skilled nursing beds were recently closed at the Community Convalescent Hospital. St. Francis Hospital is planning to eliminate 34 skilled nursing beds. Sutter Health is also planning to close St. Lukes Hospital in which another 79 skilled nursing beds will be lost. Combined with the already planned elimination of 420 beds out of its original 1,200 bed capacity at LHH, these closures total a loss of 653 or 22% of San Francisco's approximately 3,000 skilled nursing beds.
This radically reduced amount of skilled nursing beds leaves many San Francisco elderly and physically disabled people in danger of not having proper care.
We need to make sure that the City of San Francisco abides with its obligations of Prop A and provide these necessary skilled nursing beds at LHH. Let your voice be heard! Please contact your district supervisor (www.sfgov.org) and let them know that you are against any reduction of skilled beds at LHH.
San Franciscans for Laguna Honda
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