PRESS RELEASE: Ballot
Initiative to Establish
Laguna Honda Hospital Special Use District
From San Franciscans
for Laguna Honda
- David Bisho,
Pres.,West of Twin Peaks Council
- Virginia Leishman,
former LHH Director of Nursing, LHH
- Doug Comstock,
May 2, 2005. San
Franciscans for Laguna Honda, comprising concerned Laguna Honda Hospital
staff members, patient advocates, taxpayer advocates, and neighborhood
organizations from across the city, today led an intention to circulate an
initiative that will permanently end the controversy over inappropriate
The initiative, intended
for the November 2005 ballot, will establish a Laguna Honda Hospital
Special Use District to protect and conserve a valuable and irreplaceable
health care facility needed for San Francisco's frail, elderly, and
physically disabled residents requiring long-term skilled nursing care.
Specialty medical units such as hospice, AIDS, and respite care will
continue to be permitted uses. Dangerous patients, and those whose medical
diagnosis is primarily psychiatric or behavioral, will not be admitted or
retained when this Special Use District is established, permanently ending
the abuse of frail and elderly patients that has occurred in recent
months, resulting from radical and reckless changes made at Laguna Honda
by the Department of Public Health, at the direction of the mayor.
The importance of Laguna
Honda 's traditional mission was reaffirmed by the voters with the passage
of Proposition A in 1999, providing $299 million in new property tax bonds
to rebuild the hospital. It is unfortunate that City Hall politics have
influenced the rebuild, as well as hospital admissions and operations.
Despite statements to the contrary, the admissions policy remains subject
to change, depending upon budgetary or ideological priorities in force at
any given time.
City Hall should welcome
the efforts of the initiative, which will restore faith in city government
by eliminating the political discretion that has led to the present
dreadful situation, recently cited by state inspectors as unacceptable.
This initiative will remove the politics, once and for all.
Assembly member Leland Yee voiced his early support for this ballot
initiative. “This initiative speaks to the original intent of the
taxpayers in approving the $299 million bond measure. By forever setting
aside Laguna Honda Hospital for our frail, elderly, and physically
disabled residents, we will have the assurance we need that our tax money
will be spent for the purpose intended.”