Ballot Measure Would Give Long-Term Care Patients Priority Admission at Hospital
Patients in need of long-term care would receive priority admission at Laguna Honda Hospital under an initiative that could appear on the June ballot, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Supporters of the measure submitted signatures for the initiative to City Hall on Monday, and they must now be certified by the San Francisco Department of Elections.
The initiative also would prohibit admission of patients who are deemed a threat to other patients or who have been diagnosed with certain psychiatric or behavioral problems.
Supporters of the initiative say that voters in 1999 approved a $299-million bond measure to rebuild the hospital and approved the use of the facility for frail and elderly patients (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 2/7). The cost of rebuilding the hospital has since increased to an estimated $600 million.
In addition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been criticized by some staff members for providing residential care to younger patients (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/7). Critics say that younger patients transferred from San Francisco General Hospital often have mental illnesses and substance abuse problems and threaten staff and patients.
Laguna Honda Executive Administrator John Kanaley called the measure unnecessary and said it could impede future critical care needs (San Francisco Examiner, 2/7).