SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The pleas to stop patient transfers at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco were heard, and transfers have paused for now. The hospital had been ordered to shut down because of health care violations.

Nursing home advocates want residents and their families to know they have the right to stay right where they are, regardless of whether the hospital returns to a plan to push them out. Four people have died since being forced to transfer out of Laguna Honda Hospital.

They were part of a group who believed they had to go after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services de-certified the nursing home for poor care. Now transfers are on pause, but no one knows for how long.

Attorneys with the Berkeley-based nonprofit California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform insist it’s safer for the hospital to stay open and instead focus on improving care. They hosted a virtual town hall Wednesday to educate the nursing home residents on their rights that are also protected under tenant laws.

“Both at the federal and state level, there’s nursing homes specific rules that the facilities have to comply with and rights that are given to the residents to ensure that they have control to some extent over where they go, but ultimately, where they go is safe and appropriate,” said Tony Chicotel, an attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Matthew Rieden has lived at Laguna Honda for seven years and says he’s staying put until something better is presented. But Rieden explained he is one of several of the 600 residents who is able to understand he has the rights to legally stay as long he likes. 

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Rieden told KRON4 the hospital could provide better care with more staff. The San Francisco Department of Public Health is working to get it re-certified by a September 13 deadline.