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San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital Loses Medicare/Medicaid Funding

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Citing compliances issues, health care officials cut off Medicare and Medicaid funding Thursday to San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.

While the facility's state license was not threatened by the actions taken by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the crucial source of funding was cut off.

"We knew that there would be state and federal officials at Laguna Honda this week to pay very close attention to everything that we were doing," Mayor London N. Breed said at a morning news conference. "(They would be) making recommendations in order to ensure that we are first and foremost protecting the patients, making sure that they are safe making sure that no harm comes to them."

Breed tried to assure the more than 700 patients and their families at the facility that the city would work quickly to restore the funding.

"As we continue to address challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that all patients have access to the services they depend on without the fear of any hospital funding being cut," Breed said. "We will continue to work with our partners at every level of government to come into compliance with the violations at hand."

San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said the funding cut was impacting many of the city's most vulnerable residents.

"We understand that the decision made today by CMS may cause anxiety for our community of patients, families, and staff," Colfax said. "We will do everything it takes to continue serving San Francisco and we have full confidence that Laguna Honda, while working closely with local, state, and federal partners, will further improve our systems of care so that we may come back into compliance."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, said her office was also working on getting the flow of funds restored.

""It is unfathomable that Laguna Honda could lose the vital federal funding it needs to support life-saving programs for some of our most vulnerable San Franciscans — especially as we continue to be threatened by the pandemic," she said in a news release. "That is why it is both urgent and essential that city, state and national officials work together to help address areas of concern and protect this crucial health care provider."

"My office is working closely with Mayor Breed and the Biden Administration to support Laguna Honda's devoted staff and ensure that the hospital can address its issues, come into full compliance and continue to serve our community for decades to come."

Patients and staff will remain on site, and the facility will remain open as it reapplies for participation in the Medicare/Medicaid programs and works to come back in compliance.

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