SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL: Officials Urged To Keep Pharmacy Open
About 200 people, including many Latino families, gathered Sunday to urge city Department of Health Services Director Mitchell Katz to reconsider his plan to shut down the pharmacy at San Francisco General Hospital, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Noting that the pharmacy serves thousands of low-income and uninsured residents, many in the crowd worried that private pharmacies would charge much more for prescriptions. Resident Carlos Mendoza said, "We can barely eat, much less pay for medications. ... People need the pharmacy at the hospital." Kim Grose of the San Francisco Organizing Project, a coalition of 40 churches that sponsored Sunday's meeting, added, "We were not expecting Katz to commit to maintain the pharmacy. But we wanted him to know that we plan to continue working with him and hope he changes his mind." According to Grose, last year's closure of a satellite pharmacy for the hospital prevented many people from filling prescriptions. Katz decided to close the hospital pharmacy before the end of the year after Mayor Willie Brown (D) told his office not to ask for any new funds. A suit filed recently by a health advocacy group against the city DHS criticized Katz's plan to fix the department's financial woes by closing the pharmacy (Aguila, 5/1).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.