LAGUNA HONDA: Drive to Rebuild Hospital Smacks of Discredited Strategies
In an op-ed in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle, Kathy Uhl, director of the Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco, writes that the city's proposed Laguna Honda bond issue is a "$400 million [effort] to erect the world's greatest monument to institutionalization of people with disabilities." Laguna Honda serves as "a harsh reminder of a past where anyone with a physical or mental disability was branded as a cripple and sequestered from society," and a model of "one-size-fits-all" care. In addition, evidence indicates that annual per-patient costs of community-based care pale in comparison with institutional care ($30,000 vs. $80,000). Experts also agree that 20% to 70% of nursing home patients could be "well cared for in assisted living or other integrated settings in the community," Uhl adds, pointing out the irony that San Francisco "has publicly expressed its belief that bigger is better, and proposes to expand the home, to invest in it." She concludes: "People with disabilities have had to fight tooth and nail for their rights. Today, with 13 percent of the population over age 65 and Baby Boomers approaching old age, standing up for community care and choice should be a priority for all of us" (9/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.