As you may know, the Health Commission has traditionally held one of its November meetings annually at Laguna Honda Hospitals Gerald Simon Auditorium. Earlier, we had learned that the November 16 meeting of the full Commission would, in fact, be held at LHH.
Surprisingly, within the last week the November 16 meeting has suddenly been moved to 101 Grove Street, and various agenda items expected to be discussed concerning LHH have all been removed from the proposed meeting agenda.
On October 28 at the LHH Joint Conference Committee, the LHH Replacement Facility project manager, Michael Lane, informed the three Health Commissioners present and LHHs executive team that he planned to present a report to the full Commission, along with his recommendation about the number of beds that would open in the replacement facility. He indicated that between October 28 and November 16 he would complete his analysis of the bids due back in from the bidders, and develop a recommendation for the future size of LHH. The full Commission was then to discuss Lanes recommendation.
That recommendation has now been postponed until one of the Health Commissions meetings in January 2005, and no explanation has been offered regarding why the recommendation is being delayed. Since the replacement project is already approximately three weeks behind schedule, delaying the recommendation about the future scope (i.e., the number of beds) for LHH by another two months will delay the project even more.
In addition, there was supposed to have been a discussion about how LHH would fit into the Citys long-term care strategy in the continuum of care during the November 16 Health Commission meeting. Indeed, the October 28 LHH-JCC was a dress rehearsal for the November 16 hearing. LHHs executive team was told by Health Commissioner Monfredini that she wanted the lengthy presentation made during the rehearsal shrunk down to a laserscopic report for presentation on the 16th. However, the agenda posted on the Health Commissions web site shows that agenda item has also been removed and will not be discussed next Tuesday on the 16th.
Members of the public are still encouraged to attend this Health Commission meeting to present testimony regarding the many problems facing LHH during the Public Comment agenda item towards the end of the meeting. Because of the mid-year cuts being made to the Department of Public Healths budget, and the drastic cuts in healthcare services being made, the Public Testimony agenda item is expected to possibly be lengthy.
Oral testimony is greatly needed. As a reminder, written public testimony of no more than 150 words must be turned in during the hearing in order to be incorporated into the published meeting minutes. Material longer than 150 words should be submitted prior to the meeting, which is supposed to be included in the Commissioners meeting packet for reading prior to the hearing. Lengthier testimony is supposed to be included in records of the hearing subsequently available to the general public, which is a set of documents separate and distinct from the published minutes.
Please continue to consider attending the November 16 meeting; the full Health Commission needs to keep hearing from the public during its deliberations setting public policy affecting Laguna Honda Hospital.
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