The Motion Picture and Television Fund‘s long-term care facility, which the care-givers union has criticized repeatedly over staffing levels and other issues, got some validation this week by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine rated the MPTF facility among the best nursing homes in California. The facility earned an overall 5-star rating and a better than state and national average rating on 4 out of 5 patient care issues including average time nurses devote to each patient. Average time for the categories of nurses overall, licensed practical and vocational nurses, certified nurse assistants and physical therapy staff exceeded state and national averages, but time spent by registered nurses was below state and national averages (see chart here). Nurse staffing received a 4-star rating (out of 5 possible). The facility’s marks for health and safety standards (food handling, accident hazards and other safety issues) were 3 stars out of 5 possible. For quality measures such as flu vaccinations and other recommended patient treatments or the frequency of care-related problems, the MPTF home received 5 out of 5 stars.

The usually well-regarded U.S. News ratings come at a critical time for the MPTF facility. Members of the Service Employees International Union-Healthcare Workers West authorized members to strike in January, but the MPTF’s Bob Beitcher reported February 18th that “progress was made” in the latest bargaining session. The next sessions are set for March 7 and March 13. In addition to higher employee health insurance fees and retirement fund contributions, the union has criticized staff-patient ratios as insufficient to insure proper care.

A handful of union members attempted to distribute leaflets February 23 at a pre-Oscars fundraiser thrown by Jeffrey Katzenberg. The leaflets said “MPTF management repeatedly denies our efforts to guarantee a safe staffing ratio for patients and residents, which makes it harder to attract and keep qualified caregivers… please encourage management to provide the best patient care possible and to value their caregivers”. Beverly Hills Hotel security isolated the union members in an area away from arriving guests.