CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Now That It‘s Over, Let ‘s Try Getting Along

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

(Published Feb. 10, 2016)

Well, well, well.

[Three definitions of “well”: a physical condition, an interjection and a source of supply.]

So “well, well, well” tells you three ways Crossroads to Somewhere feels now that Keiro is finally out of, rather than in limbo.

A convoluted way to announce our treasured healthcare complex now belongs to Pacifica Company LLC, a San Diego-based conglomerate. In review, nursing homes in Lincoln Park and South Bay and Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) in Boyle Heights are under lease to Aspen Skilled Healthcare while Northstar Senior Living has taken charge of Keiro Retirement Home (KRH.)

Lo and behold, the world has not come to an end nor spun off its axis.

= * =

Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro succeeded while failing. Although not achieving its goal, it did save Keiro from an unchallenged end. Dissidents garnered widespread support for a lost cause that was a Don Quixote battle from the get-go. AHCSK succeeded in arousing the lackadaisical. And in defeat the movement provided a measure of pride for a community that was on the verge of accepting the loss of its greatest achievement without a murmur.

CR2S commends leaders Charles Igawa and Doc Matsumoto, not to forget Mo Nishida, a Li’l Tokio rebel who found a just cause. As with all movements, hard-working volunteers gave it strength; the likes of Shinki Dahn, Katsuo Yamasaki and Helen Funai Erickson, the quiet, efficient type dissident groups need in order to succeed. What began as an informal tete a tete last September wound up a diverse community shoulder-to-shoulder in action.

[Apparently Keiro is well worth Pacifica’s announced $41,000,000 purchase price. If the buyer had any doubt about the acquisition, it would have fled the scene when organized opposition unexpectedly grew in strength. Holding firm to its negotiated offer points out the worth of what we once proudly owned. You will recall ill-fated Ensign Group’s $44 mil bid was denied, which enabled Pacifica to step in. For-profits aren’t dummies.]

= * =

There is a long-shot chance of another legal appeal, but Keiro Retirement Home’s new operator is proceeding without hesitation. A constant presence since the Feb. 5 takeover has been North Star President Rick Johnson. Launching a personal public relations program, he has made one-on-one efforts to ingratiate himself with residents. While an expected maneuver, he has nonetheless made a positive impression.

Saying all the right things (often in better-than-passing Japanese), Johnson is promising to not only retain and maintain, but is open to suggestions on how to improve KRH. Time will be the determining factor, but his open-door-and-ear policy is a welcome start. But the concern is the here and now, so what follows are some answers to open-ended questions:

Despite rumor and distortion of facts, no one was *fired. Everyone who wished to remain employed was rehired with benefits intact. There will be no physical North Star presence on site, which means manager Takeshi Oishi and his present staff will continue to hold sway. When asked about the status of ICF, he assured it was secure and will continue to fulfill its mission. [*A few healthcare workers sought employment elsewhere during the ownership brouhaha. CR2S will check on nursing home operations later.]

Okay, now let’s get real. An off-the-cuff conversation is certainly not binding. The future may be hazy, but certainly doesn’t appear ominous. Regardless, it is hoped AHCSK will accept a Pyrrhic victory and disband. It should take a well-deserved bow with public thanks. And a reminder to maintain contact with patients, residents, family members and staff. There has been a catharsis, to be sure, but no longer a need for the continuation of the war of words. If it feels a need to maintain watch over what remains of Keiro Senior HealthCare, go for it. But the rest of us can function without an overseer, thanks you, no matter how well-intentioned.

CR2S finds it very strange no announcement was made by either Pacifica or Keiro Senior HealthCare regarding consummation of sale and official changeover. Another huge puzzler is the absence of publicity regarding a new name, Kei-Ai (敬愛), or however it’s going to be spelled. The Japanese characters mean Respect/Love. No argument one way or the other, except I can already see spelling and pronunciation woes. But nobody asked for my opinion, so we’ll loudly be quiet. Except for one more observation/complaint: the new name applies to nursing homes only; ICF and KRH are currently orphans without a name!

Whatever. Let’s focus on promises being kept. And oh, by the way, also a keen interest in how 41 million bucks is going to be $pent. Peace.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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