Deadline to close nursing home extended by 2 months

August 16, 2022 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The deadline to close a nursing home administered by the city of San Francisco has been extended by two months and patients will no longer be transferred or discharged as part of a federally-mandated closure plan, local, state and federal officials said Monday in a joint statement.

Laguna Honda was set to close on Sept. 13. Officials had been ordered to discharge or transfer more than 600 patients whose care is paid for by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS. Last month, regulators agreed to pause the transfers after several patients died after leaving the nursing home.

Officials have now agreed to push Laguna Honda’s closure to Nov. 13 and said that CMS would continue to pay for the care of patients. The pause on patient transfers will remain, they said.

“All parties are committed to ensuring that, regardless of income, people living in nursing homes are receiving safe, high-quality services and support,” CMA, the California Department of Public Health, and San Francisco officials said.

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In April, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services terminated its payments to Laguna Honda 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 also ordered the facility to start discharging or transferring its patients ahead of the mid-September mandated closure.

Earlier this month, San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the federal government saying that by ordering the medically fragile patients to be discharged or transferred, it was denying the city due process and putting patients at risk.

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

The San Francisco Department of Public Health is working to get the nursing home recertified.