Hearing on Laguna Honda Abuse Investigation Planned

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee on Tuesday called for a hearing regarding the alleged abuse of patients at the city-operated Laguna Honda Hospital.

An investigation last month revealed evidence of mistreatment of 23 patients at the hospital, including incidents of staff taking photos and videos without consent and giving patients medication without prescriptions.

The City Attorney's Office conducted the investigation and found that the abuse allegations go as far back as 2016.

Other allegations included verbal and physical abuse of residents, sexualized conversations, neglect, and failure to report violations.

Yee said Tuesday he plans to hold the hearing sometime in the fall, after a 60-day period has expired in late August in which the city's Department of Public Health is set to report on a turnaround plan for the hospital.

"There is no excuse for what happened. Families, like my own, depend on Laguna Honda for care that they should be able to trust is going to be of the highest quality. I think it is critical to hear from the hospital regarding the protocols that they have in place to ensure that abuse like this never happens again," Yee said.

As a result of the investigation, six Laguna Honda staffers were fired, along with hospital CEO Mivic Hirose and the director of quality management. Margaret Rykowski, the Public Health Department's chief integrity officer and director of compliance and privacy affairs, has been named acting CEO.

Additionally, due to the fallout, staff is now being retrained to report violations and conduct wellness checks on patients.

Currently, local law enforcement and state regulatory agencies are conducting active investigations, Yee's office said.

Anyone who has information about the case is encouraged to call the Police Department's Special Victims Unit at (415) 553-9225. Anyone with concerns about a patient or the conduct of staff is asked to call Public Health Department's confidential compliance hotline at (855) 729-6040.

Also at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors unanimously passed legislation crafted by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar to fully fund tuition for residents at San Francisco City College.

The move would add $8.4 million in new funding for the Free City College program, on top of the $6.6 million already budgeted for the program.

In addition to the new $15 million in funding, the city has also pledged a one-time payment of $5.5 million to offset costs incurred by City College resulting from higher-than-expected enrollment.

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