MPTF hospital shutdown prompts protest

Cost overruns to blame for closure by year's end

Unionized health-care workers at a Motion Picture & Television Fund hospital slated for closure staged a protest Thursday at the MPTF's retirement campus in Woodland Hills.

Sponsored by United Healthcare Workers West, the rally attracted several dozen hospital employees, patients' families and campus residents. On Jan. 15, the MPTF said it would close its hospital and a long-term care unit on the campus by year's end, eliminating 290 jobs.

The moves were prompted by cost overruns, but the MPTF also stressed it would be expanding health-care offerings provided through its network of community clinics and home-based services. The 86-year-old organization offers health-care, financial and other services to Hollywood retirees and the indigent.

On Thursday, MPTF spokeswoman Jennifer Fagen said the organization understands the shifts are not without their emotional toll.

"The MPTF Board members and senior management understand this is a heart-wrenching situation," Fagen said. "The decision to close the hospital and relocate patients was only reached after a great deal of analysis and discussion. It was determined that this course of action was the only one that would preserve the long-term health and viability of MPTF. Our doctors, nurses, social workers and staff are committed to working with families to find the best possible long-term care facilities and creating a transition process that will cause the least amount of disruption."

The MPTF spokeswoman added that "community care teams" will continue to work with patients after their relocation to other area facilities.

"We regret the number of jobs affected by this closure and the distress it has caused our employees," Fagen said. "We are doing everything possible to help them find future employment."