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Kingston Healthcare, closed since 2022, gets new owner thanks to state grant

Bakersfield resident Michael Driscoll, whose wife lived at Kingston during the pandemic, says he hopes both the State of California and the Kingston's new owners learn from past mistakes.
Posted: 5:04 PM, Jun 27, 2023
Updated: 2023-06-28 00:24:13-04
kingston health care center sign

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The former Kingston Healthcare Center, shut down by Cal/OSHA in February of 2022 from violations related to the covid-19 pandemic, has been acquired by JSI Acquisitions in the second largest grant in California to restore the facility.

Bakersfield resident Michael Driscoll's wife lived at Kingston Healthcare Center before it was closed.

"If the state really concentrates and remembers what happened 3 years ago, I think they could do a good job," said Driscoll.

Driscoll's wife contracted covid while living at the facility. She eventually recovered, but according to Driscoll, 20 people died of the virus while living at Kingston. He blames the State of California for failing to respond to residents' complaints in a timely manner, even before the pandemic.

"In a way, I believe they were complicit in the deaths of those 20 residents. I know that sounds pretty strong, but it's just outrageous that they didn't have more oversight," said Driscoll.

Last year, Kingston closed after a months-long investigation that began in 2020. According to state documents, Kingston management failed to inform employees of covid-19 cases or suspected cases, failed to provide N-95 masks to certified nursing assistants working with covid patients, and neglected to establish procedures for employees delivering food to rooms with covid-19 patients.

On the other side of the pandemic now, the $17.1 million grant pulls from the Community Care Expansion Program, which was established in response to Assembly Bill 172. That bill, according to the California Department of Social Services, will "expand the state's housing and care continuum, improve treatment outcomes, and prevent the cycle of homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization."

The CDSS statement goes on to say:

The CCE Program provides funding for acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation projects to preserve and expand adult and senior care facilities that serve Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) applicants and recipients, including those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

In addition to reopening the facility, the grant will also allow for the addition of 137 beds, and to ensure the facility stays open and not in violation, the CDSS says it will be licensed as a private facility by their Community Care Licensing Division and held responsible for staying in compliance with state licensing standards.

At the moment, there is no word on what the facility will be called or what the timeline for reopening looks like.

Despite the challenges he dealt with at Kingston, Driscoll says he hopes the state will remember what happened to ensure better care at the facility when it is reopened.

"These are angels who work in these places. We know that, okay. It had to be tough, but you know they're just people, and they need oversight," said Driscoll. "They need help."


The State of California has distributed grants for projects like the Kingston reopening across the state. According to the CCE Data Dashboard, there have been 50 grants awarded this year to facilities in 19 counties.

The total grant amount this year is over $360 million, and the projects are expected to generate an additional 2,000 beds or housing units through various projects statewide.

Three counties in the San Joaquin Valley received CCE grant awards this year. The counties of Kern, Fresno, and Tulare received nearly $32 million altogether.