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Nursing facility at St. Luke’s to close

Original source:

San Francisco Chronicle
Catherine Ho
June 15, 2017

Sutter Health-owned St. Luke’s hospital in San Francisco plans to shut its skilled nursing facility in the Mission District by October.

The move is expected to displace 44 nursing home residents and 72 health care workers, according to Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, the union representing vocational nurses, nursing assistants and other health care workers at the nursing facility. All 72 of the union-represented workers have received layoff notices, said Tom Parker, a union spokesman.

The closure was announced in a letter to employees on June 6, according to the union. The letter says the planned closure date of Oct. 31 “depends on securing the best possible care facility for each patient,” but does not specify which facilities the patients would be moved to. In a public notice also dated June 6, the hospital includes contact information for other care facilities in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda.

More than half of the nursing home residents receive sub-acute care, requiring round-the-clock monitoring, and some are on ventilators.

“It’s very stressful because St. Luke’s is my dad’s home,” said Marlene Cativo Sosa, whose father, Juan Jose Cativo, is a resident. “It is very convenient because it’s easy for all my family to go visit him every day.” She said she does not know where her father will be moved to.

A Sutter spokesman said California Pacific Medical Center — which is owned by Sutter and merged with St. Luke’s Hospital in 2007 to form St. Luke’s campus — is working with patients and their families to ensure a transition to a local care facility. The company is working with union representatives “to identify various options, including job retraining, alternative placement within (the medical center) as well as other opportunities” for the workers, he said.

Sutter did not explain why it is shutting the facility.

California Pacific Medical Center is rebuilding St. Luke’s, which remains open; a $600 million, seven-story hospital is expected to be completed next year.

“From our perspective, what it looks like is (Sutter is) reducing services for some of the most vulnerable in the city and focusing on services that are going to be more cost effective for them,” Parker said.

On Thursday, Sutter announced the opening of its first walk-in clinic in San Francisco, near AT&T Park, the first of six for nonurgent care the health system plans to open in the Bay Area by this fall.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, whose district includes St. Luke’s campus, said eliminating health care jobs in the Mission will reduce much-needed services for patients.

“Sutter Health should be a partner as San Francisco seeks to provide health care to our most vulnerable residents, but the announced cuts are a huge step in the wrong direction,” Chiu said in a statement.

Catherine Ho is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @Cat__Ho