The following letter was sent on Nov. 3 to Pacifica Companies by Kensaku Nakayama, Ph.D. of the Sakura ICF Family Council and Traci Imamura of Save Our Seniors Network.

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During the long closure process of Sakura Intermediate Care Facility (SICF) — brought about by your company during the May through August period of 2021 — over 60 residents of the SICF were forced to find alternative care facilities for relocation.

Most have been forced to accept new living arrangements which do not approach the bilingual, culturally sensitive environment and care once provided by SICF.

Several residents, however, vowed to remain at SICF through August, during the period when AB 279 was still working its way through the California Legislature. These residents, many of whom were Medi-Cal recipients, also applied for individual assisted living waivers (ALWs) in mid-June in anticipation of transfer to Sakura Gardens (SG), an assisted living facility located on the same campus as SICF.

They were informed that SG had applied for the facility ALW in December of 2020. This was, however, highly misleading, in that SG repeatedly failed to provide all of the necessary documentation in its application to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) on two occasions (December 2020 and March 2021), finally filing a complete application in July of 2021.

In view of the apparent delays in both the granting of the individual and the facility ALWs, your company decided to present an offer to the remaining SICF residents (with an Aug. 10 deadline) to accept admission to SG, despite no ALWs being awarded to any of the parties involved at that time. This offer came with the guarantee that there will be no change in rent from what was paid to SICF, and that additional life-assistance care would be provided at Pacifica Companies’ (Pacifica) expense.

In view of the dwindling resident numbers at SICF, and strong pressure from the administrator and staff at the facility, most of the remaining SICF residents accepted the Pacifica offer, and began relocating to SG in August.

In late October 2021, the individual ALWs were finally starting to be granted to the ex-SICF transferees. In the meantime, however, there has been no new information provided by your company or its representatives on the status of the SG ALW application, despite repeated requests by the SICF Family Council (FC) or Save Our Seniors Network (SOSN).

These residents and their families continue to live under these precarious conditions where their fate at SG remains uncertain. Please be reminded that this was a situation created by Pacifica, where the facility application was delayed over many months, and yet the ex-SICF residents were enticed to relocate in order to vacate the SICF facility for the convenience of Pacifica’s development plans.

Be reminded also that one ex-ICF resident obtained her ALW in May, before the individual application freeze by DHCS, but that her waiver may sunset by November 2021, due to the six-month lifetime of the ALW in cases where the facility is awaiting its own approval.

Very recently, due to efforts of a member of the FC and SOSN, it was discovered after contacting the DHCS that a routine facility of-site review checklist has not been submitted by SG! This “oversight” is incomprehensible to the residents and their family members who are waiting for the facility ALW to be granted!

We strongly request that your company perform its due diligence by providing timely, regular, and complete reporting to the current ex-SICF residents living at SG and their families regarding the status of the ALW application to the DHCS. This reporting should not be the responsibility of the ex-SICF residents, their families, or the rest of the Japanese American community.

Opinions expressed in Vox Populi are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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