1. Is Kei-Ai LA a designated COVID facility?

a. Kei-Ai LA decided to establish a COVID-19 isolation unit by carefully considering several factors.

  • First and foremost, we needed the ability to safely care for our in-house residents that tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Secondly, we needed the availability for mass testing to be made available for all staff and residents.
  • We wanted to be able to safely readmit our in-house residents that contracted the virus to a facility with which they were familiar and which catered to their cultural needs.
  • Another consideration was that the facility is uniquely structured such that we were able to establish a third-floor isolation unit with zero crossover to the rest of the building.
  • At the onset of the pandemic in California, Governor Newsom mandated that nursing homes admit COVID-19 patients to prevent overcrowding in hospitals—the exact scenario that played out in late 2020. 
  • Lastly, the facility was uniquely positioned to help the community during the worst global pandemic in a century.

b. In May of 2020, Kei-Ai LA was designated as one of the skilled nursing facilities that could admit COVID-19 positive patients. The facility’s building layout allows the facility’s third floor to be an isolation unit completely separated from the other parts of the facility. The employees assigned to this unit use specially designated entrances and exits, along with separate changing and eating areas.  The isolation unit has been inspected by county public health officials and even praised for elevating the standard of care for skilled nursing facilities. Since its inception, there has been no traceable spread of COVID-19 from the isolation unit to any other part of the facility.

c. Early on in the pandemic, Governor Newsom mandated that skilled nursing facilities admit COVID-positive patients. Simultaneously, the medical community was becoming aware that our seniors were among the most vulnerable to this disease. Initially, testing kits and personal protective equipment were difficult to obtain in the quantities needed to follow safe infection control guidelines. Kei-Ai LA took an extremely proactive approach toward protecting our residents. Visitors were restricted weeks before Governor Newsom’s order. We secured many international medical supply connections supporting the procurement of PPE, even when the Chinese government was refusing shipment of PPE outside of the county.

d. During the pandemic’s early days, the medical community’s most significant challenge was getting enough access to COVID-19 tests and having those test results returned timely. Before testing was readily available and in conjunction with Kei-Ai’s willingness to accept COVID positive patients, Mayor Garcetti’s office agreed to provide Kei-Ai LA weekly testing for all of its residents and staff. This offering was a massive win for our residents and staff. In addition, the mayor’s office agreed to offer significant amounts of personal protective equipment at a time when excess approved PPE was challenging to obtain.

e. As of March 3, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health retired the COVID-19 designated-facility program, issuing a statement of gratitude and praise to all facilities who pioneered the program and were instrumental in saving many hospitals from an unmanageable crisis.

2. How many licensed beds does Kei-Ai LA have, and how does the facility’s size impact the COVID-19 statistics?

a. There are three considerations to keep in mind when analyzing Kei-Ai LA COVID-19 statistics: (1) the facility’s size, (2) the facility’s volume of admissions, and (3) the fact that Kei-Ai has a designated COVID-19 isolation unit.

b. Kei-Ai LA is a large, 300-bed skilled nursing facility offering post-acute care to Los Angeles County. With Kei-Ai being three times the size of a typical skilled nursing facility, the cumulative COVID-19 data may appear high; however, when the facility’s size is considered, Kei-Ai’s COVID-19 statistics are in line with other facilities in the state and, in many cases, far better.

c. Another important factor to take into account is the volume of admissions that Kei-Ai has managed during the pandemic. Since March 2020, Kei-Ai has admitted just over 1,100 patients. When reviewing data from the California Department of Public Health, Kei-Ai LA will have admitted and cared for twice as many patients during the last 12 months as any other facility in the state. Therefore, Kei-Ai LA’s published COVID-19 statistics are a combination of newly admitted patients’ data and readmitted long-term care patients.

d. Lastly, because Kei-Ai LA is a large, high-volume facility approved to admit COVID-positive patients, the COVID-specific facts are skewed compared to smaller buildings that do not have a designated isolation unit.

3. How many COVID-positive patients are currently being cared for in the third-floor isolation unit?

a. As of March 9, 2021, the facility has 8 COVID-19 positive patients, all of whom remain in the isolation unit until they pass the CDC quarantine guidelines for COVID-19. All of these patients were admitted to the isolation unit with COVID-19—i.e., they did not contract the disease at Kei-Ai LA.

4. What’s the rate of community spread from the third-floor isolation unit to the rest of the building?

a. There is no known spread from the third-floor isolation unit to the rest of the building, and staff working on the specialized unit are restricted from crossing over to non-isolated sections of the building.

5. In the LA Times article, it states that Kei-Ai decreased employee wages since acquiring the facility?

a. This statement is false. In 2016, when Kei-Ai was acquired, the average non-nursing wage was $12.57. The average nursing wage was $14.40. At the time of the acquisition, none of the employees had been given a wage increase for two years. Shortly after the transition, Kei-Ai implemented wage increases across the board. As of March 3, 2021, the average non-nursing wage was 43.75% greater (or 8.75% annually), and the average nursing wage was 66.04% greater (or 13.21% annually) over the last five years.