September 7, 2022
Health Commission, San Francisco Department of Public Health,
Dear Members of the Health Commission:
As President of the Older Women League of San Francisco, and as a social worker, I am writing to you to urge you to reconsider the “Flow Project” at SF General Hospital. During my years in hospital discharge planning and nursing home admission, the hospital social workers proposed patients for admittance to a facility. The facility then evaluated the appropriateness of an admission in terms of safety and ability to care for the patient. Only then was a patient admitted. The “Flow Project” made it possible for patients be admitted to Laguna Honda Hospital without evaluation, despite their lack of facilities to properly treat drug addiction and severe mental illness.
I ask the Commission to reverse the “Flow Project” as it serves the interest of SF General, and not Laguna Honda staff and patients. Adequate community programming for drug rehabilitation and mental illness in SF is lacking and should be one of our main focuses. This includes clinics, well-trained staff and housing, follow-up programs with physicians, nurses, social workers, and mental health workers to care for these patients. Asking Laguna Honda to take on these problems is an easy fix that has not worked, causing harm to many.
The Commission needs to focus on the root causes of current problems in the City, as well as long term solutions that would help San Francisco citizens struggling with the serious and often deadly issues of drug addiction and untreated mental illness.
Melanie Grossman, PhD, MSW
President of OWL-SF