California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare) – A bold, public-funded, “cradle-to-grave, head-to-toe” healthcare reform bill to replace the commercial, for-profit-only healthcare system and take control of healthcare away from companies like Pacifica Companies and political lobbyists like the California Association for Health Facilities (CAHF).
Multilingual and Culturally-Appropriate Care
AB 1400 is of particular interest to the Save Our Seniors Network in its fight to defend the legacy of the former Keiro Nursing and Retirement Homes abandoned by the Keiro non-profit Executive Board. Specifically this is largely because, in addition to the above seven general guiding principles, AB 1400 addresses the failures of the current system and the central theme of the SOS Network fight for healthcare equality and advocacy for bilingual, culturally-appropriate healthcare services.
As the fight to save our seniors at the former Keiro Nursing and Retirement Homes has demonstrated in cruel and stark fashion, the fundamental problems of a healthcare system dominated by for-profit corporate interests literally incentivizes poor patient care practices and furthermore corrupts the entire political system which is supposed to provide public oversight to healthcare practices.
Under the current system, bilingual care is not deemed profitable, so, for example, Pacifica Companies has refused to replace such skilled staff when they have departed the facilities. The operators of the Sakura ICF told a family member that “it was too expensive” to do so. If there are no professional staff to communicate in the primary language of patients, how are proper medical assessments to be made and how is appropriate care to be administered? Because their profit margins are “sub-optimal” when catering to MediCal patients vs. only private fee patients, Pacifica Companies, with $442.68 million in revenues promotes the false claim that they are “losing money” because of the only facility providing the level of bilingual/bi-cultural care specific to Japanese Americans and Japanese in the U.S. as a false justification for destroying it.
Culturally-appropriate services doesn’t simply mean a “diversity of cultural entertainment” for patients, it means the maintenance of an environment that addresses the overall well-being of people. In addition to cultural programming, food choices, religious services and cultural sensitivity to culturally-specific modes of communication and interaction are directly related to both mental and spiritual health and physical well-being.
AB 1400’s Bill language, for the first time in any major healthcare reform legislation specifically addresses the issue of inequality that many communities have been fighting for for generations in the U.S.
For example, from the AB 1400 bill language:
10612. (10) Implement policies to ensure that all Californians receive culturally, linguistically, and structurally competent care, pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 100650), ensure that all disabled Californians receive care in accordance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) and Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794), and develop mechanisms and incentives to achieve these purposes and a means to monitor the effectiveness of efforts to achieve these purposes.
100650. (6) Providing health care items and services in a culturally, linguistically, and structurally competent manner.
For Japanese American historical context, read this article by Save Our Seniors Network co-chair, David Monkawa: https://eastwindezine.com/japanese-american-seniors-and-the-us-healthcare-crisis/
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining efforts to win AB 1400!