By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

GARDENA — A Keiro executive said Saturday that the senior health care organization is in talks with a potential buyer but that nothing has been finalized.

Beverly Ito, chief compliance officer of Keiro Senior HealthCare, administrator of Keiro Intermediate Care Facility, and a family member of a Keiro resident, gave an update on the pending sale of the Keiro properties during a facility family meeting at South Bay Keiro in Gardena. Her main topic was the health care reform demonstration project in Los Angeles County, known as the Coordinated Care Initiative/Cal MediConnect.

In a presentation last December at South Bay Keiro, Keiro President and CEO Shawn Miyake said the agency is in talks to have a larger health care organization take over the four Keiro facilities due to declining funds and changing demographics and needs in the Japanese American community.

Ito noted that St. Vincent Medical Center, where many Keiro residents receive treatment, finds itself in a similar situation. In January, the Daughters of Charity Health System announced its decision to solicit proposals from non-profit and for-profit organizations to purchase DCHS hospitals, including St. Vincent, individually or the health system in its entirety. DCHS has six hospitals in Northern and Southern California.

Ito quoted Robert Issai, DCHS president and CEO, as saying, “Like other health systems across the country, we recognize that the way health care is provided today – where it is offered, how it is paid for, how it is measured – is changing dramatically, and we believe that new ownership is in the best interest of the communities we serve.”

Issai has also expressed hope that “the buyer(s) share our vision to protect the legacy of care the Daughters of Charity have built, preserve jobs, and ensure that all members of the community have access to affordable, high-quality health care for years to come.”

Both Keiro and DCHS are impacted by changes under the Affordable Care Act, Ito said.

In Keiro’s case, she said, “We started off with about 20 interested buyers, narrowed it down to ten, then eight, three, and then now we’re just looking at one buyer … Nothing has been officially signed yet, so if you hear any rumors — ‘Keiro’s already been sold,’ ‘We’ve heard that different ethnicities have bought it’ — it’s not true.”

There are rumors circulating that the facilities has been purchased by a Korean or Chinese American organization.

“The one organization that looks promising is very large — over 100 facilities, multiple states (in the) western United States,” Ito continued. “It’s a non-disclosure agreement because it is a publicly traded organization, so we cannot say the name or anything like that.

“But what they have said is that they show a strong interest in continuing to operate all of the Keiro facilities and maintaining culturally sensitive care.

“So basically we all are just waiting for something to be finalized. Again, there’s no paperwork, not in escrow. We are exchanging information, but that’s as far as it’s gone.”

In addition to South Bay Keiro, the sale would include Keiro Retirement Home, Keiro Intermediate Care Facility, and Keiro Nursing Home in Los Angeles.

The writer is a family member of a South Bey Keiro resident.

Dining room at Keiro's main campus in Los Angeles. (Rafu Shimpo photo)
Dining room at Keiro’s main campus in Los Angeles. (Rafu Shimpo photo)

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