LAGUNA HONDA: S.F. Officials Revise Costs to Bolster Support
San Francisco health commissioners yesterday unveiled a less costly plan for rebuilding Laguna Honda Hospital, "scaling back a record-high bond measure proposal they feared voters would never approve." Approved unanimously, the new measure would cut the hospital's rebuilding costs from $437 million to $401.6 million, largely by increasing the number of rooms with four beds from seven to 40. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the new facility, located on its current site, will have 1,200 beds and 140 "assisted living" units, with each nursing unit responsible for no more than 60 beds. It will have no open wards. Each unit will be designed like a "pod," allowing for a homelike setting and easy access to the outdoors. The current structure will be redesigned as an administrative building. Officials said work could be completed as early as 2006 if the city can secure the funding to begin work. Two-thirds of city voters would have to approve a $299 million bond measure, with the remaining cost financed by the state's portion of the tobacco settlement. Critics argue that public funds could be better spent on "financially strapped San Francisco General Hospital, the deteriorating California Academy of Sciences, city parks or housing." But Laguna Honda supporters say with the baby boomer population growing steadily older, the city faces a shortage of 2,380 skilled nursing beds by 2020 (Minton, 6/2).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.