EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: I’ve learned that the MPTF deal is with Providence Health & Services, which will take over management of the acute care hospital to keep it open on campus and even expand the intensive care nursing services and other long-term offerings. “It couldn’t be a better scenario,” one of my insiders exults. Providence Health & Services of California describes itself as a Catholic, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing quality and compassionate health care and reaching out to the poor and the vulnerable in the communities it serves. Providence California operates five acute care medical centers in the Los Angeles area: Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Centers in Torrance and San Pedro. The region also operates programs and facilities including Providence Medical Institute, Hospice care, long-term care, outpatient clinics and a high school.
EXCLUSIVE 9 AM: I’ve just received word that there’s good news coming for the Motion Picture & Television Fund and those acute care patients who depend on its services. I’ll get you details as soon as I can, but for now I can report that essentially the MTPF is making a deal to keep the acute-care hospital open and even expand intensive care services. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this resolution comes on the eve of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation’s 9th Annual “Night Before” Pre-Oscar Fundraiser hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman of the MPTF Foundation Board, two years after he announced the closure of the MPTF’s acute care hospital and intensive care nursing facilities because they were losing $10 million a year. Nor that it follows a California Department Of Public Health inspection of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s skilled nursing facility completed on June 4, 2010, citing the MPTF for rights violations and service failures. Nor that it follows the forced resignation of Dr. David Tillman, MPTF’s president and chief executive, and his replacement by the more responsible and conciliatory Bob Beitcher. Nor that it follows nearly two years of bad publicity for nearly everyone involved at the MPTF because of protests by the families of the acute care patients and grassroots activist groups like Saving The Lives Of Their Own to ensure that the entertainment industry’s promise of “Taking Care of Our Own” remains unbroken now and for future generations just as it did when it was founded back in 1921 by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith to help showbiz people who fell on hard times. Nor that it follows recent weak Hollywood Guild agreements with the studios and networks that will have the result of robbing more members of their middle class livelihoods and imperiling their health and pension benefits so that in the future even more stress will be put on MPTF infrastructure.
Back on November 24th, I reported that MPTF’s recently installed President/CEO Bob Beitcher was trying to effect a compromise and was told “odds are favoring a face-saving yet real solution for the LTC and a major capital campaign, over a continued war of attrition and negative PR”. So a dialogue has been ongoing between Beitcher, Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation CEO Ken Scherer, and MPTF bigwigs including Casey Wasserman, chairman of the Wasserman Foundation which is one of MPTF’s biggest benefactors (and whose namesake Wasserman campus in Woodlands Hills is the venue for the acute care hospital and intensive care nursing facilities), and even Jeffrey Katzenberg.
It was two years ago, that without any warning the shocking announcement was made that the MPTF’s acute care hospital and long term care nursing home were losing $10 million a year and that the shortfall was expected to widen significantly in coming years. Cited as the problem was that the vast majority of hospital and LTC patients are covered by government insurance programs whose reimbursement rates have not kept pace with fast-rising operating costs. So MPTF had been making up the shortfall by dipping into its investment reserves. But, based on its projections, continuing to subsidize the hospital and LTC facility would likely exhaust available reserves within five years. About 100 retirees then lived in MPTF’s acute-care facilities. As a result of the planned phase-outs, those patients were to be relocated over the course of 2009 to selected nursing homes in and around Los Angeles, but while some were transferred, most were not, and activists sought and win delays.
This became a huge Hollywood story with major ramifications for everyone who considered the Motion Picture And Television Fund facilities as their safety net in times of sickness and old age. And it underscored how, with all the enormous wealth in showbiz, that the community couldn’t or wouldn’t look after its own better than this. Katzenberg found himself are the center of the storm that ensued and the subject of numerous rallies protesting the closures. But tellingly this year, no protest has been announced for his “Night Before” Party.