Pasadena officials are expressing their displeasure at being left out of the state's process that regulates the licensing of nursing homes after one of its facilities was evacuated in June and had its license suspended.
According to figures provided by the city, more than 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus were confirmed at the Golden Cross Health Care nursing home at 1450 N. Fair Oaks Ave., 72 among residents and 32 among staff -- and eight people have died.
The state's Department of Public Health is planning to hold a hearing on the facility's status in late August, but Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell confirmed to City News Service that city officials did not know about the hearing until a lobbyist hired by the nursing home asked them to write a letter of support to help them keep their license.
That request was met with emphatic refusal.
"I made it clear to (the lobbyist) that, based on the owners' egregious violations, any settlement that left them in place was not acceptable to the city and, moreover, based on our over-concentration of skilled nursing facilities in the city, we did not need the beds," Mermell told the Pasadena Star News.
"I encouraged her to explore our updated general plan to see what other higher and better uses there may be for the property," he added.
Attempts to reach Golden Cross officials and the lobbyist for comment were not successful.
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Assistant City Manager Nicholas Rodriguez was particularly displeased to learn about the hearing from the lobbyist, according to the Star News.
"It goes to show how broken the system (is) when the local authority is not an integral part of the part of the decision-making," he told the newspaper.
In June, more than 60 patients were evacuated from Golden Cross on orders from the state Attorney General's Office due to various concerns about coronavirus protocols. The evacuated patients were relocated by private ambulances and none required hospitalization, Pasadena spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
"As of this past weekend ... our fire chief and our health officer were at the facility assessing patients," Derderian said at the time. "We got to the point last night (Thursday) where it was in the best interest of the residents' health and safety to have them moved out of the facility."
"For weeks, we've been working with the different agencies with oversight," Derderian said. "We've had our health department involved, our fire department, police department, city attorney's office, city manager's office. Some of (the problems) are COVID-related, others are not."
Derderian said the city was "very proactive" in addressing the problems at the and "a lot of resources were dedicated because of ourcity's concerns ... that led to our having to intervene."
"This facility failed to provide most basic functions in caring for these patients, including sufficient nutrition or water; safety, not only from COVID but also basic medical needs," Derderian said.
"The city staff has repeatedly and relentlessly pushed the state to act on the information that we've collected for several weeks," Derderian