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San Francisco Sues Feds Over Compelled Closure of Laguna Honda Hospital

Last week, federal regulators agreed to pause the transfers after several patients died within days or weeks of being moved from the hospital and rehabilitation center but the deadline to shut down the hospital remains.

Speaking at the press conference, Renne urged CMS to “come to your senses.”

“How much longer are we going to keep this up before more deaths occur?” Renne said.

CMS terminated its payments to Laguna Honda in April after two patients had nonfatal overdoses at the facility in 2021, and inspectors with the California Department of Public Health declared it to be “in a state of substandard care.”

The federal agency, which pays for care for the majority of the nursing home’s 700 patients, also ordered the facility to start discharging or transferring its patients ahead of a mid-September mandated closure.

Founded in 1866, the sprawling facility serves people who need long-term care but who can’t afford private nursing homes. Many of the patients have dementia, drug addiction and other complex medical needs.

City officials say patients and their families are the ones suffering the most because of the forced closure. Debra Bauer spoke Thursday about how the facility has helped her son, who has a traumatic brain injury, and has been a resident at the hospital for about 20 years.

“My son feels safe there, I don’t want that taken away from him,” she said. “I don’t want it taken away from him or any of the other residents that I see and we wave to in the hallways.”

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