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San Francisco Sues Feds Over Pressured Closure of Laguna Honda Hospital

Update, 5pm Wednesday, Oct. 12: Federal regulators have reached an agreement with California and San Francisco health officials to continue funding the Laguna Honda Hospital & Rehabilitation Center until November of next year. The agreement, announced Wednesday, comes after the San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit in August against the federal government for its closure plan for the facility, claiming it was an “unworkable” plan that “denied due process” and put the facility’s 600- plus patients at risk.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu agreed to drop his lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services after it allowed the facility to receive funding through Nov. 13, 2023, and agreed to halt relocation proceedings until next February.

Officials on the local, state and federal levels released a joint statement following the agreement, saying they are committed to ensuring people in nursing homes “are receiving safe, high-quality services and support.”

“We are all focused on resident wellbeing while Laguna Honda continues to provide critically needed health care services for hundreds of residents,” the statement said.

Laguna Honda agreed to meet requirements set to improve health and safety conditions at the facility, and may be able to reapply for federal funding in the future. The deadline for transfers and discharges of residents could possibly be extended if the facility meets its obligations, according to the agreement.

Original story, 5:30pm Aug 4: San Francisco officials said Thursday they have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over its decision to cut funding to a nursing home run by the city and the tight deadline it set to move all patients out of the facility that state and federal officials deemed was providing “Sub standard care.”

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said the order by the federal government to transfer or discharge all patients out of Laguna Honda Hospital by Sept. 13 has denied the city due process and put patients at risk. He said at least nine patients have died days or weeks after being transferred or discharged and that at least three ended up in homeless shelters.

“We’re asking the federal government to exert compassion and common sense,” Chiu said during a Thursday press conference. “Between the huge shortage of skilled nursing facility beds, we see potentially very negative consequences” if the facility closes. “Individuals will become homeless. These people have nowhere to go.”

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