City cuts to long-term mental health beds prompt protest

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Elected officials, hospital staff call move to short-term beds for homeless ‘short-sighted’

Dozens of people gathered at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday to protest what they described as a “short-sighted” directive by Mayor London Breed to close 41 permanent treatment beds for mental health patients in exchange for a shelter-bed expansion at the hospital…

Hospital staff, ARF patients and some city leaders said that they were “blindsided” by the plan and vowed to fight cuts to the ARF, which provides a total of 55 permanent residential mental health beds. In exchange, 14 beds will be added to the hospital’s Hummingbird Place, a short-term psychiatric respite program at the hospital that currently operates 29 beds and where client stays average about 19 days…

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said that the plan to reduce capacity at the ARF was “developed in secret” and that she only learned about it through the advocacy of the hospital workers. Ronen and Supervisor Matt Haney are the proponents of Mental Health SF, an initiative planned for the March 2020 ballot that would provide free mental health care and substance use disorder treatment…

On Thursday, Ronen, who indicated that she would likely call a hearing on the issue, called Breed’s plan a “game of smoke and mirrors to pretend they are doing something without the real deep structural changes that take vision, time, commitment.”.

State-licensed residential treatment beds are among the hardest to secure and operate, whereas Navigation Center beds such as those offered at Hummingbird Place can be opened “anywhere in this city without any OK from the state,” said Ronen…. (more)

Moving people around seems to be a new passion these days. Moving people around against their will is probably the number one cause for the unstable society we are living in today. The first order of business should be to “do no harm.” Moving people around must be making someone rich or why would they do it? Who benefits from this dis-functional system?

 

 

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