Two New Initiatives to Pressure Attorney General Becerra to Protect Our Seniors

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Sakura Gardens facility in Boyle Heights

There is currently a petition initiated by Koreisha Senior Care and Advocacy opposing the conversion of the Kei-Ai ICF (intermediate care facility) into multi-family housing units.

This petition has been circulating for the last month. This will affect 64 seniors who reside at the ICF.

Koreisha’s legal representatives have also requested that the state attorney general (AG) extend the conditions of sale that were placed on Pacifica. The conditions are the only legal protection current residents have to continue bilingual and bicultural services. There are presently 342 seniors in all four of the facilities formerly owned by Keiro that will be affected by these conditions. These are both very important actions leading the struggle to save our seniors who live in these four facilities.

Why Are the Conditions Important?

For residents who do not speak English, it is a crucial lifeline to be able to communicate their needs and health problems to nursing staff. One of the few pleasures in their remaining years is to enjoy Japanese food. And while many of these residents were able to afford Keiro facilities with the help of Medi-Cal, Pacifica has been reducing its Medi-Cal occupancy. The Sakura Gardens facility seniors have seen their monthly rent rising for a total of 17% over the last four years.

Once the conditions expire on Feb. 5, 2021, there will be no obligation for Pacifica to continue these bilingual/bicultural services, and no control over hiking up the rent.

The attorney general set up the Community Advisory Board (CAB) to monitor Pacifica’s compliance with the conditions. Members of the CAB who are also members of Koreisha, along with concerned individuals from the community, are organizing broader pressure on Attorney General Xavier Becerra (or his successor) for a fair and just extension of the conditions. CAB/KSCA member Traci Imamura has reported that it is customary for these kinds of conditions from the attorney general to last 10 years.

The first initiative is to get as many individuals and organizations to sign the petition to extend the conditions. Please see the “Letter to Xavier Becerra” at the end of this article.

The second initiative is the upcoming Zoom meeting scheduled for Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. — Japanese translation will be available. CAB, under the leadership of Kenneth Hayashida, MD, has scheduled a virtual public meeting to gain advice and feedback on the state of residential care and chronic care services in the community. CAB hopes current and former residents and their families will share their experiences during the COVID crisis in order to let the community know what the situation is inside the facilities.

According to the L.A. County Public Health Department, Kei-Ai Los Angeles and Kei-Ai South Bay have been placed on the “most infected” list for COVID-19, and the Lincoln Heights nursing home has been designated as a COVID-19 facility. The CAB meeting is being organized to raise public awareness and allow those most impacted to speak out so that the Attorney General’s Office will hear. To register for the meeting link, email [email protected]

Please circulate this petition widely and return to: [email protected] by Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Day.

For signing this petition online, please go to: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-our-seniors-extend-the-conditions

For a copy of this petition to print from your computer, please email to request a pdf: [email protected]

To: Xavier Beccera, Attorney General, California

Cc: Governor Gavin Newsom and successor to Becerra

From: Family, friends of residents and community organizations and individuals

SAVE OUR SENIORS! We Need a Fair and Just Extension of the Conditions!

In February 2016, Keiro, a Japanese community nonprofit icon for half a century, sold Keiro Retirement Home, the Intermediate Care Facility, the Keiro Nursing Home, and the South Bay Keiro Nursing Home to Pacifica Companies, a for-profit international real estate company.

The California attorney general required Pacifica to comply with 13 “Conditions of the Sale” for five years after the sale to continue the culturally sensitive care for the seniors. The “Conditions of the Sale” will expire on Feb. 5, 2021.

The California attorney general created the Community Advisory Board (CAB) to ensure that Pacifica complied with these conditions.

As “conditions” for sale, Pacifica agreed to those 13 conditions, promising to continue the same type and level of services provided before the sale, including:

BILINGUAL AND BICULTURAL HEALTHCARE, FOOD, AND PROGRAMS

Since 2016, despite the efforts of the loyal, hard-working staff and administrators.

• Bilingual/bicultural services were reduced. These services are the Japanese-speaking residents’ lifeline in accessing services to meet their needs.

• Services provided were changed: Medicare beds were increased while Medi-Cal beds were decreased — pushing out lower-income residents.

ADDING FINANCIAL STRESS to the elderly residents, Pacifica has raised the rent by 5% annually and 7% this year.

The “condition” NOT TO SELL, LEASE, SWAP, OR SHUT DOWN ANY OF THE four FACILITIES will expire Feb. 5, 2021 and all legal protections will be lost guaranteeing the elderly residents access to culturally sensitive care. Pacifica has already proposed to convert the Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) into condominiums/apartments. There is no culturally sensitive intermediate care facility for the residents to transfer to. There is no dedicated culturally sensitive nursing home for Japanese Americans.

SAVE OUR SENIORS!

EXTEND THE CONDITIONS!

KEEP THE PROMISES!

The following individuals are endorsing this petition (organizational affiliations are for identification only unless indicated otherwise):

Laura Bethel, member of KSCA and CAB

Traci Imamura, member of KSCA and CAB

Shige Kabashima, member of KSCA

Mary Uyematsu Kao, Rafu Shimpo contributor

Hana Kawano, member of KSCA

Taiji Miyagawa, member of Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA)

David Monkawa, member of KSCA and CAB

Aileen Toshiyuki, member of KSCA

Rev. Mark Nakagawa

Mitchell Matsumura

Janice Yen, member of Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress

———-

Note: The Rafu Shimpo has received the following correction from John Kanai, president, and Keiko Ikeda, vice president, of Koreisha Senior Care and Advocacy:

“KSCA requests IMMEDIATE correction to the 12/8/2020 article entitled ‘2 New Initiatives to Pressure AG Becerra’ due to its misleading information. The article makes reference to Koreisha Senior Care & Advocacy; however, the article was not written, submitted, or endorsed by KSCA. KSCA was never consulted about the article, which includes recommendations that are not sponsored by KSCA. Individuals who signed the letter as KSCA members acted solely on their own and did so independently of KSCA membership. KSCA appreciates this clarification due to the confusion this article has created in the community.”

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