Talks between MPTF, patients at stalemate

Notifies patients, families about facility closures

The Motion Picture & Television Fund on Tuesday resumed notifying individual patients and families affected by its decision to close a hospital and long-term care facility at its retirement campus in Woodland Hills.

The planned closures, which the MPTF has said are needed to ensure solvency of its other health care operations, have stirred controversy in some quarters, and the Hollywood nonprofit had been negotiating with attorneys representing some of those affected. But the mediated talks have failed to identify a means of resolving the dispute, so officials will continue to take steps to shut the facilities.

"We hoped that by giving our residents many months to make plans, most, if not all of you, would be far along in the process by now," MPTF chief executive David Tillman wrote in a letter to affected families. "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," he continued. "Regrettably, those talks have not been successful, and so I urge you to move forward with your transition plans. ... 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."

Eventually, patients will receive a notice to vacate their rooms within 30 days, as required under state notification guidelines. The MPTF began a more prolonged process of attempting to relocate 136 patients in its long-term care facility in January and now has 78 patients in its facility.

The small MPTF hospital, whose planned closure has generated less criticism, seldom handles more than a half-dozen patients at one time.

In contrast to the closure plans, the MPTF has been vocal in underscoring its commitment to its network of community-based health clinics and home-based medical services for Hollywood retirees.

The 88-year-old fund operates largely on the basis of support by entertainment labor organizations and through charitable contributions.

After news of the development circulated Tuesday, a group representing some of the facility's residents and their families issued a statement criticizing the MPTF action and offering sentiments from disgruntled residents.

Said Larry Jennings, 73, an electrician and member of IATSE Local 40, "When they carry me out of my home in a coffin, that's when I'll leave here."