By Briana Lim, AsAmNews Intern
Less than two weeks remain to stop the closure of Sakura Gardens of Los Angeles, a senior home for dozens of Japanese seniors. It provides for independent and assisted living, as well as memory care.
Members of Save Our Seniors (SOS) are banking on the passage of AB 279, a bill that prohibits Intermediate Care Facilities and Skilled Nursing Facilities, from “terminating or making significant quality-of-care changes to its skilled nursing or supportive care services, or from transferring a resident to another ICF or SNF, during any declared state of emergency relating to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), except if the owner files a bankruptcy petition.”
“Right now, we are batting to get a hearing on AB 279 in CA Senate Appropriations and win a floor vote before the Summer Recess, which starts on July 16,” a spokesperson for Save Our Seniors told AsAmNews in an email. “We are starting lobby preparations in anticipation of an eventual floor vote.”
In May 2021, California gave permission to parent company Pacifica to close part of the Sakura Gardens facility, AsAmNews reported.
Since then, with help from Save Our Seniors (SOS), the California Department of Public Health has delayed the closure until at least August 23, subject to change.
Save Our Seniors expressed their frustration, saying, “The bill is being opposed by the CA Dept. of Health, but the CDPH has not been transparent or forthright in the reasons for their opposition. They have intimate ties with the private operator industry via CAHF.”
When asked about what would happen to the senior residents if evicted, SOS explained how moving to other facilities would not be a sufficient solution. Sakura stands out as the only senior home in the area that provides adequate bilingual and bi-cultural services the Japanese American residents rely on. SOS also pointed out how this situation is revelatory of how the US healthcare system fails to provide for its minority citizens.
Save Our Seniors is also working on involving California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta to look into the credibility of Pacifica Companies’ accountability reports. SOS also wants the AG to extend the original conditions of sale.
This weekend, Save Our Seniors planned for two events for Californians to sign letters of support for the Japanese seniors to the state senators. A webinar is also planned for later in the week.
- July 3, Saturday 12noon – 5pm
Frances Hashimoto Plaza in Little Tokyo. 50 yards south of traffic light street crossing on 2nd St. between San Pedro St. and Central Ave.
- July 4 Sunday 1130am – 2pm
Faith UMC Church parking lot. 2115 W 182nd St Torrance, CA 90504.
- July 7 Wednesday 7 pm Pacific “Building API Power to Win Healthcare Equality” Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtc-GorzkoHdcUyCRItuaYAkDmuzVHYyGR
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