PSWD governor appears with Save Our Seniors group during JACL Convention.
By P.C. Staff
Shortly after the afternoon workshop titled “SOSN: Save Our Seniors Network” finished on July 22 at its Japanese American National Museum venue in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo as part of the JACL National Convention, the group held a news conference outside of the site of the Go for Broke National Education Center.
Joining the news conference was Japanese American Citizens League Pacific Southwest District Gov. Ryan Yoshikawa. In a short statement, he said, “National JACL and the Pacific Southwest District of the JACL support (Rep.) Judy Chu and the Save Our Seniors Network with the calls to increase the investigation into Kei-Ai and it treatment of its citizens and its seniors.”
Related to the news conference was the release of a letter jointly issued by JACL and SOSN. (To view the letter, visit tinyurl.com/2tum9ncv.)
Yoshikawa’s reference to Kei-Ai and Rep. Chu (D-Calif.) was in part related to a Nov. 17, 2022, letter she sent to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (To view the letter, visit tinyurl.com/yf7zvste.)
The letter, co-signed by Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), expressed “deep concern with the quality of patient care at Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center in Southern California and to request a review of Kei-Ai, its owners and its pattern of substandard patient care.”
The letter also alluded to complaints of “abuse, neglect or rights allegations,” as well as Covid-related deaths at Kei-Ai facilities.
The news conference was held as part of SOSN’s years-long efforts to shine a spotlight on what it believes are problems that arose following 2016’s $41 million sale of the nonprofit Keiro Senior Healthcare facilities to the for-profit San Diego-based real estate development firm Pacifica Cos. LLC.
With the sale, the former Keiro facilities were rebranded. Two of the facilities are now known as Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center, located in Lincoln Heights, and Kei-Ai South Bay Healthcare Center, located in Gardena, Calif. Also rebranded were Sakura Intermediate Care Facility (formerly Keiro Intermediate Care Facility) and Sakura Gardens (formerly Keiro Retirement Home).
Stipulated in the 2016 sale was a five-year moratorium preventing changes to the status quo of the operations. Before the moratorium expired on Feb. 1, 2022, SOSN sought to extend it because of alleged violations to the agreement, as Pacifica seemed poised to evict residents of the Sakura ICF so that it could convert it into apartments. (See tinyurl.com/2z4ttpmd.)
Said Save Our Seniors Network Legislative Director David Maldonado in a statement: “We are ecstatic and welcome JACL support. This is a huge advance for the seniors, their families and the community. For those who lost their loved ones at Kei-Ai and also for those who were evicted from Sakura Intermediate Care Facility and were offered Kei-Los Angeles as an alternative. I’d like to remind the community that the JACL supported the seniors at Sakura Intermediate Care Facility and opposed the evictions back in 2021.”