2ND UPDATE: Here is the response from “Saving The Lives Of Our Own”:
Los Angeles—In reaction to a “pre-eviction” notice released by the Motion Picture Television Fund today, residents of the MPTF long-term care facility and their families rejected the letter as an example of continued strong-arm tactics by the Fund and its administrators. In an interview, the MPTF’s Ken Scherer insists the facility will be closed by the Thanksgiving holiday.
The letter was released to the media before being delivered to the residents and their families, in the presence of security guards, in a further attempt to intimidate and frighten the elderly out of the Home they were promised would be there for them until the end of their days.
Lynn Medford, whose husband Don, 91, is a director and long-time resident of the Home says, “They gave us a letter already stating what was stated before. It’s the easy way out for them in lieu of an eviction letter. Nothing’s new.”
“The more the MPTF tries to defend its indefensible position, the more public outrage is generated in support of the 80 frail, elderly residents who are being forced out of their homes. Dr. Tillman’s letter is a blatant attempt to circumvent and deprive the elderly, including my mother, of their rights. Families will not be fooled into ‘voluntarily’ relocating their loved ones,” insists Melody Sherwood, whose mother Kay Meyer, 93, is a resident of the facility.
“When they carry me out of my home in a coffin, that’s when I’ll leave here,” states Larry Jennings, a 73-year-old resident and electrician, member of IATSE Local 40.Saving the Lives of Our Own, representing over 4000 Entertainment Industry professionals and members of the community concerned about the MPTF long-term care facility closure, is committed to keeping this historic and vital Hollywood facility open.
We are requesting:
— An immediate reversal of the decision to close the long-term care facility in acknowledgment of the commitment made to these seniors and their families
— A dedicated fundraising campaign for the purpose of keeping the facility open
— Financial transparency in the form of a comprehensive and independent audit of the MTPF and all its related entities.
“Saving the Lives of Our Own” is a grass-roots coalition of Entertainment Industry workers and community members. Our mission is to keep the MPTF long-term care facility open, to stop the evictions of its elderly residents and to ensure that the MPTF promise of “Taking Care of Our Own” remains unbroken – now and for future generations.
UPDATE: A top activist opposing the closures emails me, “They are obviously trying to force the families to pull the trigger on their lawsuit, and to put them and their lawyers on the defensive. Not gonna happen.”
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just been told that the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board Of Directors is sending preliminary notice to those affected that the long-term unit and intensive care hospital at Woodland Hills will be closed at the end of 2009 as previously announced. Sources tell me this preliminary notice is a kind of “pre-letter” to alert patients and their families and friends and other activists that they’ll be getting formal notice soon of the intent to shutter the facilities. So now the end game of this controversial MPTF action is being played out.
The MPTF tells me it’s making this move because four months of settlement talks have broken down with Los Angeles litigator Tom Girardi’s law firm Girardi & Keese which is representing the patients and their families and friends who want to keep open the facilities which are reportedly losing $1 million a month. “We’ve made all kinds of overtures, but they haven’t responded with any plan of their own,” an MPTF insider tells me. “They want to keep the hospital and long-term care unit open for 80 people even if it bankrupts all the services used by 60,000.” The MPTF is expecting Girardi’s firm to counter with an injunction preventing the shutdowns, and a lawsuit.
This comes just as SAG and the Teamsters voted to oppose MPTF’s impending acute care closures because of lobbying by the grassroots organization, Saving The Lives Of Our Own, a 3,600-member coalition of MPTF residents, family members and friends. According to the activists, the remaining 100 or so residents live in daily fear that they will be evicted from the caring home promised them as a peaceful place to live out their days. The group keeps asking the MPTF Board of Directors to reverse their decision to close the nursing home.
Here is the MPTF letter:
August 25, 2009
Dear Patients and Families,
In our efforts to keep you abreast of developments regarding the impending closure of the long-term care facility and hospital, I am writing to give you an update. I am also writing to reiterate our commitment to working with you throughout the transition process and after you or your family member leaves the campus.
Since January when we announced our difficult decision to close the long term care facility and hospital by the end of the year, it has been our goal to help you identify appropriate options for relocation and to work with you to make the transition as comfortable as possible. We hoped that by giving our residents many months to make plans that most, if not all of you would be far along in the process by now.
We have tried to reach a mutually acceptable solution with the lawyers who are representing many of you in connection with the closure. Our outside counsel has been working with them to craft a solution that would address your transfer and relocation concerns. To that end, the parties retained a former associate California Supreme Court Justice to mediate a settlement. Regrettably, those talks have not been successful and so I urge you to move forward with your transition plans.
We must move forward with phasing out the facility and we want to remind you once again of the resources and assistance we are providing, and to urge you to take full advantage of them.
We have identified 22 high quality community nursing facilities that were screened by MPTF staff to ensure that they could and would support our residents and keep them connected to MPTF health and, or social services via our Community Care teams, if they desire. A list of these facilities is available from your social worker.
We understand that you and your family may have concerns and questions about how the transfer and relocation process actually works. In addition to talking to your social worker about the steps you need to take, we can put you in touch with the Community Care Team. They can give you first hand accounts about how MPTF staff including Dr. Humayun and Linda Healy have worked with them through the process, and in a number of cases continue to provide care where desired.
We are deeply saddened by the fact that we have to close the long term care facility. Our long term care residents will always be important members of the MPTF community and we hope you will allow us to continue serving you after you relocate.
In closing, I urge you once again to allow us to help you identify as many options for relocation as possible and to make the transition as comfortable as possible.
David Tillman, MD
President / CEO