Newsom Announces $100M in Additional Funding for Laguna Honda Hospital Project
An additional $100 million in tobacco settlement funds will be available to fund the construction of a skilled nursing facility to replace the current Laguna Honda Hospital building, Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) announced Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Newsom announced the funding at a press conference to release a report on the Laguna Honda project by San Francisco Controller Ed Harrington.
According to the report, constructing a replacement facility could cost as much as $747 million if it is built according to a plan outlined by a 1999 bond measure. The report's cost estimate is for a facility with 1,200 skilled nursing beds.
The report also contained a financing plan under which the new hospital could be built for $629 million, with financing in part from the $299 million in bonds approved by voters in 1999 and $192 million in tobacco settlement funds. The original estimated cost of the new hospital was $401 million.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Sean Elsbernd said he will call for a hearing to address funding for the project this week.
Harrington said as many as 70% of the facility's 1,000 current residents could be served by other forms of care. Harrington's report also contained an alternate proposal with 780 skilled nursing beds at Laguna Honda and 235 beds for a lower grade of care in a separate building. The alternative proposal included funding for private facilities or at-home care for an additional 790 patients.
Some estimates indicate that San Francisco has 40% of the state's skilled nursing beds, Harrington said.
Newsom said the city should consider reducing the number of beds before committing additional funds. Newsom said, "Not everyone needs to be in a skilled nursing facility, and not everyone at Laguna Honda right now needs to be in Laguna Honda." He added, "It's a major public policy discussion. These are big questions."
Sal Rosselli, president of the union that represents health care workers at Laguna Honda, said, "The most important thing is to do what we can to keep people living in their own home rather than in an institution. But it's clear to us that a minimum of 1,200 beds are needed because there are that many people and more who can't survive own their own home" (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20).