Program Samurai

As the Board announced their decision to close Keiro Rehab & Care Center (KRCC) as well as corporate functions, we thought that it would be helpful to explain all of the projects and work that are going on to make this happen.


Overall, the program is known as Program Samurai.  On a weekly basis, the Board and management meet to discuss updates to all of the underlying projects.  As you can imagine, there are many moving pieces and a lot of complexity to ensure that we are balancing a safe and compassionate closure with required regulations and laws.  Underneath this program there are 4 individual projects:


  1. Project Kimochi: Execution of the board decision to close KRCC, impacted programs/functions, and sell WMC
  2. Project Shikatagnai: Shut down and transfer all corporate processes and programs
  3. Project Giri: Close down / transition Community Enrichment programs
  4. Project Phoenix: Plan a sustainable future for the remaining programs


Project Kimochi is the biggest and most heavily regulated of all the projects.  This project directly executes on the Board’s decision to close KRCC and impacted programs/functions and to sell the WMC.  As you can imagine, there was, and continues to be, painstakingly detailed planning that must occur to ensure that all of our residents are safely and compassionately relocated to new homes.  As such, the internal team (clinical staff and management) meet daily to ensure that we are all on the same page and are executing according to plan.


In addition, in order to ensure we have a safe transition, it is vital that we guarantee that staff remain to care for the residents and the organization (and to execute the following projects).  During this project, we will be laying off approximately 230 employees. These layoffs include clinical staff, Community Enrichment staff, and corporate staff, including leadership in all areas. However, we need many of these individuals, particularly the corporate staff, to stay beyond when the last resident leaves.   Again, the synergy required to make sure that all internal stakeholders are on the same page is critical.


Currently we are projected to have 28 residents with us by the end of the month.  Because we are moving much more quickly than planned, we have issued our 60 Day Notice with hopes that we will find new homes for all of our residents by the end of August.  Our plan is to have all KRCC functions and programs wound down by September 2019.


Project Shikataganai is the most complex of all of our projects.  Because our organization has organically grown over 40+ years, we are sure folks can imagine the complexity of untangling all of our shared services from individual service programs and from the Keiro NW entity.  These shared services include:  Governance, Compliance, Licensing & Insurance, Legal, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Philanthropy, Fund Development, Technology, Back Office, Contracts, Building Maintenance, Vendor Management, Volunteers, and several more.


Because of this organic growth, the additional challenge is lack of documentation, historical information, and adequate resources.  We are prioritizing this work using regulatory requirements as a gauge, but as previously stated, this project is the most complex and will require the most man and brain power to complete.


For example, we have decades of information stored at Iron Mountain (secured record storage company).  Per regulations, we are required to keep donor information, medical records, and employee information, for a certain period of time.  Unfortunately, there was not filing mechanism put into place years ago when we began to store our records at this offsite facility.  In addition, with corporate staff being laid off, we’re faced with the additional challenge of not knowing who will monitor, organize, and maintain these records going forward.  Given all of the aforementioned functions, and each posing its own set of similar challenges, we’re looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of scenarios in which we will need to plan and address.


Project Giri is unfortunately the collateral damage in all of this.  With our largest source of revenue being closed down (KRCC), the Community Enrichment programs are all impacted.  Although all of these programs (Home Care, Nikkei Horizons, Transportation, Catering, and Kokoro Kai) were all losing money on an individual basis, those losses were more easily absorbed with the larger program (KRCC) bearing most of the costs.  We are excited that we are looking at and evaluating potential opportunities to keep some of these programs going by transitioning them to other local community organizations.  For the most part, this work should be complete by Summer 2019.  In addition, Kokoro Kai will remain active at Nikkei Manor.


Project Phoenix is our return to glory (hence the name).  Once the aforementioned projects have been completed, the intention is to come back stronger than before.  This project entails understanding how to sustain the remaining programs (Nikkei Manor & Kokoro Kai).  Although, as you can see, it will not be easy to get to this place.  There is a lot of complexity to all of this, and as mentioned before, the lack of documentation and information has made this even more of a challenge.  Further, with corporate staff being eliminated, we are looking at outsourcing to third party solutions as a way of reducing costs and mitigating the risks of these vital services continuing (e.g., Payroll – no one wants to work and not get paid!).


In addition to these projects, the Board of Directors has continued to explore options and opportunities.  This includes the future of the 1601 E. Yesler property (the Keiro Rehab & Care Center).  As you can see, there are a lot of decisions and sensitive matters being handled.  Although we know the Japanese American community would like to have answers on who, what, when, and where – we are sure that you can appreciate, as many of you have worked in the work force, that there is immense sensitivity to these matters.  Yes, there are conversations happening, but we cannot currently share this information with the general public.


Although we understand that this organization was founded by the Japanese American community and the spirit by which this organization was born, we do serve residents and we do have employees who are materially impacted by any misinformation or rumors.  This is not for lack of transparency – we are doing our best to protect all parties involved.  We remain committed to informing the general public as soon as decisions are made and the time is appropriate.  For example, we do not want the general public to know of decisions related to operations before we have the opportunity to inform our residents.


We recognize and applaud the continued support and interest in all that we have going on.  Again, we remain committed to sharing information as soon as we can.  In some cases, we simply may not have answers yet.  There are a lot of moving pieces and intricacy to all that is going on. We thank you in advance for your continued support and patience.