Blossom Valley Inn, Holtville's vital assisted living facility, is for sale and that could leave an uncertain future for occupants, many of whom are veterans and elderly on fixed incomes
The current owner, Renato Baylon, is in negotiations to sell the facility to Golden Times Community Corp. of West Covina. The purchase is likely to be completed in May, Lucy Gao, manager of Golden Times, explained in an email response to an inquiry from this newspaper.
"We are still in escrow and still in the process of completing the transaction," Gao wrote.
The pending change also leads to uncertainty for the facility’s staff and Gao acknowledged that issue as well as resident anxiety.
"Once our management team takes over, we will carefully evaluate and review current staff," she added. "And management will review all current residents’ status once the transaction has been completed."
However, challenges persist at the facility. Last month Blossom Valley was paid a visit by the California Department of Social Services for the second time in two years following a complaint of inadequate care and supervision.
Nicholas Walker, a state licensed program analyst, visited the facility at 708 E. Fifth St. on March 15, of this year following up on a complaint lodged Feb. 27 regarding an elderly female resident referred to as No. 1 (R1), state Social Services reported in an email response to an inquiry from this newspaper in early April.
The case originally dates to March 13, 2017, when Blossom Valley personnel allegedly failed to take appropriate action when staff observed a change in R1's deteriorating physical condition. The facility was charged with failing to bring it to the attention of a physician or responsible person, explained Michael Weston, Social Services public information officer, in the email.
"Based on staff interviews and medical facility records, R1 was at high risk for falls and the facility staff knowingly failed to provide proper care and supervision to meet R1's needs," Walker stated. "This posed an immediate health risk to the patient."
According to Social Services, as part of the prescribed “plan of correction,” Mary Kiser, Blossom Valley admissions director, and Sandra Bernados, care coordinator, promised to hold an urgent in-service meeting with administrative staff/supervisors. The goals were to clear the immediate risk and provide proof of that to Social Services.
But on March 16, 2017, R1 sustained another fall and was taken to a local emergency room. Later, at another hospital, a scan revealed multiple fractures to the pelvis area.
Further staff interviews showed Blossom Valley allegedly had no "fall plan" for residents at risk, other than to check patients more than every two hours. The facility was issued three type A citations and one type B citation. The former is for an immediate risk to the safety of residents that includes a lack of care or supervision or lack of fire clearance. The latter is for violations that, if not corrected, can lead to an immediate risk.
Blossom Valley also faced scrutiny from state Social Services in 2018 over allegations of inadequate hygiene for residents. It agreed to implement a plan of correction for that as well.
Gao pledged her management team will comply with state standards as well as apply adequate training hours for the staff. In addition, she assured Golden Times would guarantee proper food handling and hygienic procedures will be followed.
Gao also promised to abide by California wage increase regulations and adhere to the state Labor Code.
Blossom Valley was assessed a penalty of $10,000 in March and had 25 days to appeal. If there is no appeal then the licensee must pay the civil penalty and will be sent an invoice, explained Weston.
In a brief phone interview, Francisco Aldana, principal of Aldana Law Office and Blossom Valley legal counsel, noted Baylon will settle the penalty incurred against him with the Social Services within a couple of weeks .
"Holtville will not lose anything," said Aldana. "A new owner will take over management and it will remain a senior facility similar as before ... Even better than before, because they (Golden Times) said they would remodel. It will probably be much nicer."
Gao explained as of yet Golden Times cannot confirm estimates of remodeling expense.
"But our remodeling plan is to re-image the property, but the current remodel plan is still under review," she said.