Fund moves patients to single building; no plans to evict

The Motion Picture & Television Fund will consolidate its long-term facilities from two buildings to one — with no plans to evict the remaining 54 residents.

The move, announced Tuesday, follows more than a year of controversy over the fund’s plans to close its money-losing long-term care facility and acute-care hospital.

MPTF execs reiterated plans to eventually shutter both operations and noted they’re in the final stages of closing the hospital with an exact closure date to be set within the next few months.

Nancy Biederman, a rep for the group Saving the Lives of Our Own, generally endorsed the announcement and said it was indicative of the MPTF using “sound” fiscal management. But she also warned that the org will file a lawsuit if any evictions take place.

The fund said 25 long-term care residents in the 49-year-old Pavillion would be moved by June 18 into a newer skilled nursing facility on its Wasserman Campus, where 29 other residents are living. It noted that of the 54 residents remaining, 37 are industry memb ers and 17 are parents of industry members.

“This is the next phase in our plan to close our Long Term Care operation,” said Bob Beitcher, president and CEO. “In all respects, the Skilled Nursing Facility is a better living space for our LTC residents than the nearly 50-year-old Pavilion, and will enable us to provide more spacious accommodations and enhanced socialization opportunities for all residents.”

Beitcher also said the MPTF would be able to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, but noted that the facility is still in the red.

“We are still expecting to incur shortfalls in 2010 of more than $10 million,” he added. “Our staff is continuing to work with residents and their caregivers to identify other acceptable accommodations in the community prior to the closure of Long Term Care.”

MTPF also noted the assisted and independent living facilities at MPTF, including the Country Home, will be unaffected. More than 200 residents are housed at those facilities.

The move comes two weeks after the fund announced Bob Pisano, president and interim CEO of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, had succeeded Frank Mancuso as chairman of the MPTF board. Beitcher replaced longtime CEO David Tillman in February.

The fund declared in January 2009 that it would shutter the two facilities in Woodland Hills by the end of last year, but backed off on that pledge, asserting that it became more difficult than anticipated to find acceptable beds outside the facility. The resident population had been more than 130 at the time of the initial announcement.

The MPTF has faced considerable resistance from the grassroots group Saving the Lives of Our Own, which has staged multiple protests asserting that the MPTF is violating its mission of “taking care of our own” within the entertainment industry and the pledge to residents that they’d spend the rest of their lives at the Woodland Hills campus.

“While we have some concerns, we see the announcement as the MPTF’s acknowledgement of their commitment to care for the residents for the rest of their lives,” Biederman said. “Our willingness to work with the MPTF should not be misconstrued. We are steadfast in our resolve to protect the rights of the residents and to preserve and strengthen longterm care for future generations.”

MPTF execs have emphasized that the fund will continue to operate its independent and assisted-care facilities in Woodland Hills, and half a dozen health centers in the Los Angeles area, along with modernizing the Woodland Hills campus and expanding its medical and social services for biz retirees.

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