LAGUNA HONDA: Feinstein Wants Funding Decision Reversed
"In a strongly worded letter," California's senior senator recently "appealed" to the Clinton administration not to cut Medicaid funding for San Francisco's "embattled" Laguna Honda hospital. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala stating that a federal "threat to stop $250,000 a day in Medicaid funding" as of Sept. 9 would threaten patients' safety. Feinstein asked that the cutoff date be extended "so city and federal officials can negotiate changes" at Laguna Honda, the nation's largest public facility for the chronically ill. She wrote that it was "simply unconscionable to me that the Health Care Financing Administration might force the city to dramatically reduce" patient levels or close the hospital. Feinstein also argued that transferring patients to other facilities or releasing them outright "would place the health and lives of over 1,000 sick and disabled San Franciscans at risk." Defending ongoing efforts to improve conditions at Laguna Honda, Feinstein requested that Shalala visit the hospital to confirm that staffers are "creating a safe, clean and high-quality living environment" (Epstein, 6/30). Click Laguna Honda to read past California Healthline coverage of this issue.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.