San Francisco hospital moves permanent beds to house temporary psych patients

California's Department of Public Health will move dozens of permanent beds from a long-term residential program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital to a short-term program in another part of the hospital, according to The San Francisco Examiner.

Around 18 Adult Rehabilitation Facility patients were informed Aug. 19 they had 60 days to move to another part of the hospital. The ARF unit currently has 55 beds for patients with chronic mental health conditions, some of whom have lived there for decades. The hospital plans to reduce that number to 14.

The beds will be moved to bolster a 27-bed expansion at Hummingbird Place, the hospital's Navigation Center for homeless individuals seeking mental health and addiction treatment. 

Hospital nurses protested the decision and issued a petition Aug. 20 with over 560 signatures, claiming the bed closures are displacing mentally ill patients and outsourcing employee jobs to an outside nonprofit. They plan to hold a rally Aug. 22.

The hospital pushed back on the criticisms, saying the ARF beds are underused and could be better employed elsewhere. Only 32 people lived in the 55-bed unit as of July 2019, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Most patients displaced from the ARF will be moved to another facility for the elderly in the same building, which had 21 empty beds as of July.

"Why have vacant beds in a building when you can fill those beds with people who have this need for psychiatric respite services?" Rachael Kagan, a health department spokesperson, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

More articles on patient flow:
Uptick in 'guardianship cases' leave Maryland patients in EDs for months
Rural residents struggle to get emergency care after hospital closures
Hahnemann closes ED

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