Hortensia Magaña, Co-Founder (1937-2008†)
The late Hortensia Magaña and K.B. Forbes founded the CDLU as an ad hoc committee. It has grown into one of the most vocal consumer advocacy groups and public charities on healthcare in the nation.
As the Los Angeles Times reported in Mrs. Magaña's obituary:
Long after she transformed herself from a blue-collar worker into vice president of Diana's Mexican Food Products, her family's $30-million corporation, Hortensia Magana remained concerned with the fate of the working class. When she learned that hospitals routinely charged the uninsured more than those covered by insurance companies, Magana launched a battle to eliminate the inequity. As chairwoman of the consumer group Consejo de Latinos Unidos [CDLU], Magana helped spark a congressional inquiry, and her work ultimately resulted in lower healthcare prices for many uninsured workers.
"Mrs. Magana helped negotiate the settlement that ended up changing hospital pricing from coast to coast; it shook the industry," said Kevin "K.B." Forbes, executive director of [CDLU]. "She gave a voice to the voiceless: the working poor, immigrants, people who were like her back in the 1960s."
In 1999 she wrote a Times commentary advocating a tax credit that would "permit millions of Latinos -- and many others who share our predicament -- to have access to preventive and routine healthcare. Latinos are the fastest-growing population group in America, and we believe our interests are America's interests," Magana wrote. With Consejo de Latinos Unidos, she helped coordinate the filing of several lawsuits by patients against Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 2003. The group alleged that uninsured patients were charged as much as five times more than hospitals charged insurance companies for the same services.
Magana and Forbes hashed out a settlement with Tenet that included what Forbes called a "fair hospital pricing policy for the uninsured," which is now common in the industry. "Mrs. Magana . . . did things quietly," Forbes said. "Everything was to help working-class people."
Born in the state of Durango, Mexico, on Nov. 10, 1937, Magana was the oldest girl in a family of 12 children. Her father owned a ranch and ran a store in the town of Nombre de Dios. Magana moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s. She worked at a Mexican food company, where she met the man who would become her husband -- Samuel Magana -- and at Teledyne, an aerospace firm. But her mind was on the marketplace, and soon she found a niche.
In the 1960s and 1970s, many supermarkets did not carry the kinds of spices and other products used to cook authentic Mexican food. In 1972 Magana and her husband purchased a small grocery store in Gardena, named it after their first daughter, and stocked it with those hard-to-find food products. In 1973 the couple expanded and bought a tortilla plant in Maywood, followed by restaurants, a bakery, two more tortilla factories and a commissary. The company employs a workforce of more than 300. Magana traveled to Mexico often to purchase goods, and was proud of her heritage. She was driven, and undeterred by sexism in the world of business.
"There weren't a lot of women in that field," said her daughter Tensha Magana-Berry of West Hollywood. "But she was a strong woman. . . . She was on the go, and we were on the go with her." In Los Angeles, Magana volunteered with several organizations. She was a founding member of Hispanics for the Los Angeles Opera and, from 1984 to 2006, served as executive director and public relations director of Comite Mexicano Civico Patriotico, which organizes the Mexican Independence Parade in East Los Angeles.
K.B. Forbes, Executive Director and Co-Founder
Named one of the 20 People who Make Healthcare Better in the United States by Health Leaders Magazine, K.B. Forbes is a nationally-recognized consumer healthcare advocate who helped expose and bring an end to hospital price gouging of uninsured patients. As co-founder and Executive Director of the CDLU, he authored nine investigative reports, spurred three Congressional hearings, and worked coast to coast to improve healthcare for all.
With over two decades of experience, Forbes is also seasoned public relations, strategic communications, and political consultant who has worked for a number of national and international clients managing, advising, and promoting everything from political campaigns to Internet radio companies, from cellular phone businesses in Africa to New York Times best-selling books, from bankruptcy reform to health insurance, from ground-breaking Smart Grid technology to adult assisted-living facilities. A veteran of three U.S. Presidential campaigns, Forbes has traveled to all 50 states and has worked on dozens of local, state, and federal campaigns.
Born and raised in California, Forbes once taught English as a Second Language to Latino students at a post-Secondary vocational school near Watts, South Los Angeles, California. Forbes served as the former Director of Communications and Marketing for Medical Savings Insurance, a health plan started by the late J. Patrick Rooney, the former Chairman of Golden Rule Insurance and pioneer of the Health Savings Account concept.
Son of a Latino immigrant, Forbes is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Chile and Mexico.
Lourdes Galvan, Deputy Director
Lourdes Galvan is a recognized community advocate for youth and foster children, having been on the forefront of children and family services for over two-decades.
Galvan has served as a Bilingual Family Facilitator responsible for in-home mental health and crisis intervention services to youth, foster-youth, and their families in Los Angeles County. She has assessed the strengths and needs of project youth and families, facilitated the development of individualized treatment plans, and monitored the progress in meeting established goals for the families and youth at risk.
As Deputy Director of the CDLU, she has managed the Medical Aid Program that has provided or secured over $10 million of free care for the sick and the poor, including over 2,000 physicals. She has done field investigative research and interviewed victims of corporate abuses in several states across the country.
As a community advocate, Galvan has also assisted families with accessing community resources. Part of a team, she has provided 24-hour crisis intervention and maintained client and program records in accordance with applicable standards, regulations, and requirements.
Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Galvan attended UCLA and Azusa Pacific University, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development.
She has also served as an adult ESL Teacher where she was also responsible for providing counseling for students from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. A passionate teacher, Galvan once created a 15-week GED course that increased attendance while nearly quadrupling the number of graduates at a local learning center.