Entertainment Industry

Category: Motion Picture & Television Fund

Motion Picture & Television Fund launches fundraising campaign

George Clooney and company launch fundraising campaign

The Motion Picture and Television Fund has launched a Hollywood fundraising campaign to generate  $350 million in support for the charity and its nursing home that was once slated to close. 

On Thursday, the fund announced that DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg had already helped secure more than $200 million in pledges and donations that include his own contribution and those from Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Steve Bing, Casey Wasserman and George Clooney.

Katzenberg and Clooney are spearheading the campaign efforts. "I am proud to be part of the MPTF legacy of taking care of our own,'' said Katzenberg at a media breakfast held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "This campaign is the way my generation can ensure that the MPTF will be there to serve future generations forever."

Clooney said he had been a strong supporter of the fund's work. "I was raised to believe that as a community we should be judged by how we take care of people who can't take care of themselves."

The Oscar-nominated star of best picture contender "The Descendants" added: "This is our community. This is our commitment; to make sure that the MPTF is still standing strong for generations to come."

The fundraising announcement follows a recent decision by the fund's board to re-admit patients to the nursing home. The fund's board triggered an uproar in Hollywood when it announced plans in January 2009 to shut down the nursing home -- which was established to care for retiring actors and other performers, citing heavy financial losses.

MPTF Chairman Bob Beitcher said cost-cutting and fundraising efforts made it possible for the charity to operate a smaller nursing home, with about 40 residents, instead of the more than 130 it had in 2009. The fund recently partnered with UCLA Health System to operate a geriatric psychiatric unit at the skilled nursing home.

Fund officials also have spent months negotiating with Kindred Healthcare Inc. of Louisville, Ky. Under a proposed deal, Kindred would invest $10 million to remodel an existing hospital building and would lease hospital and rehabilitation beds from the fund.

Beitcher said the $350 million would provide a much-needed infusion to help finance improvements to the nursing home as well as other social and healthcare services provided by the charity.

"Over the next 20 years, approximately 100,000 industry members and their families, our very own baby boomers, will be retiring,'' Beitcher said. "And the fact is that today we can't anticipate what kind of help and support they'll need from the MPTF. But we can be certain that there will continue to be needs that otherwise won't be filled without the support of the charity."

RELATED: 

Motion Picture Home to remain open, admit new patients

Providence agrees to take over motion picture home

Motion Picture Nursing Home plan hits snags in Washington

-- Richard Verrier 

Photo: Bob Beitcher, George Clooney and Jeffrey Katzenberg gather as the Motion Picture Television Fund launches a $350-million fundraising campaign with support from Hollywood luminaries at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Credit: Motion Picture Television Fund.

Motion Picture & Television Fund fined over patient's death

2009 protesters urging the Motion Picture and Television Fund nursing home to admit new patients
State regulators have fined the Motion Picture & Television Fund $80,000 for failing to prevent the death of a patient at its nursing home. An investigation by the California Department of Public Health found that the skilled nursing facility "failed to ensure an environment free of accident hazards with adequate supervision, leading to the death of a patient," according to a statement released by the agency Wednesday.

The investigation stemmed from the October 2010 fatality of Carrie Delay, a 90-year-old resident of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's nursing home who died after falling down a stairwell at the Woodland Hills facility.

Delay's family last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the nursing staff had failed to properly monitor Delay, a wheelchair-bound patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

In a statement, Motion Picture & Television Fund Chief Executive Bob Beitcher said: "The MPTF takes patient safety very seriously and deeply regrets the incident. The citation...refers to an investigation completed in December, 2010. Since then we have taken additional extensive measures to ensure the safety of our patients and the quality of care that they receive."

Those measures have included hiring an outside safety consultant, conducting audits of policies and procedures and providing additional staff training, Beitcher said.

The incident was the most serious to occur at the nursing facility, which had faced complaints from residents and family members alleging deteriorating quality of care since the fund announced plans to shut down the nursing home and hospital in January 2009. The fund's board recently reversed course and began to admit new residents.

RELATED:

Providence agrees to take over motion picture home

Motion Picture Fund nursing home to admit new patients

Motion Picture Nursing Home plan hits snags in Washington

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Protesters in 2009 rally against the planned closure of the Woodland Hills nursing home and hospital operated by the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

 

 

Motion picture fund nursing home to admit new residents

Motion Picture & Television Fund nursing home to admit new patients

Three years after a controversial decision to close Hollywood's best known nursing home, the Motion Picture & Television Fund has reversed course and said it would immediately begin admitting new residents to the Woodland Hills facility.

The decision marks a victory for residents and their families who waged a highly public campaign to fight the fund's decision in January 2009. Many residents accused the charity of losing sight of its mission to take care of entertainment industry workers and refused to leave, hiring an attorney to block evictions.

At the time, the fund's board members said they had no choice because its facilities were losing millions of dollars and threatening the charity with bankruptcy. On Wednesday, however, MPTF officials said the nursing home's finances had improved under new management, enough at least to justify admitting residents.

The board tapped former Panavision Chief Executive Bob Beitcher this summer to replace David Tillman, who resigned as head of the fund in February 2010 after bitter clashes with residents over his handling of the planned closure.

"I would give Bob Beitcher and his management team really a lot of credit for coming in and getting our house back in order, which it needed,'' said Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation and MPTF Chairman. "The results of it are that we can very comfortably expand our capacity."

The nursing home has only 29 of the more than 130 residents who lived there in January 2009. The fund will expand to at least 40 beds for now, with priority given to former residents who moved to other facilities. The nursing home is part of a larger retirement community in Woodland Hills operated by the fund.

"This will be a pivotal moment for current long-term care residents and their families, other campus residents and staff,'' Beitcher said. "It will restore the continuum of care on campus everyone has been hoping for."

Nancy Biederman, founder of the Saving the Lives of Our Own group, which fought the nursing home closure, said: "We applaud the MPTF on its stewardship and vision, and thank all who worked together to uphold the Fund's historic mission and move it forward.... That the MPTF has strengthened its commitment by embracing Long Term Care on campus is a victory for everyone."

The fund has been cutting costs by streamlining operations. The nursing home will operate on one floor instead of two, and last week the fund laid off 18 workers.

Fund officials also have spent months negotiating a deal with Kindred Healthcare Inc. of Louisville, Ky. Under a proposed deal, Kindred would invest $10 million to remodel an existing hospital building and would lease hospital and rehabilitation beds from the fund. That would give much-needed revenue to the charity, which provides various social and healthcare services to entertainment industry workers.

The signing of the deal, originally expected to be completed by the end of last year, however, has been delayed by uncertainty over whether Congress will extend a moratorium on the building of long-term acute-care facilities.

In the meantime, Wednesday's announcement should help backers such as Katzenberg raise charitable contributions at an annual fundraising event held the night before the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 26.

"It's been long and it's been hard and very difficult at times, but the good news is that the bad news is behind us,'' said Katzenberg, who had previously supported the decision to shutter the nursing home. "Now I feel like this is really a new day."

RELATED:

Movie industry hospital and nursing home to close

Providence agrees to take over motion picture home

Motion Picture Nursing Home plan hits snags in Washington

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Protesters in 2009 rally against the planned closure of the Woodland Hills nursing home and hospital operated by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Quinten Smoller, 5, center, and his family showed up to support his grandmother Ava Bliss, 85, an actress, rear center in wheelchair. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

 

Motion Picture Home plans hit a snag on Capitol Hill

Nursing home

A plan to help secure the future of Hollywood’s most famous nursing home has been stalled by gridlock in Washington, D.C.

After months of negotiations, the Motion Picture & Television Fund is close to finalizing a deal with Kindred Healthcare of Louisville, Ky., to invest in and provide long-term acute care services at the Woodland Hills complex that includes the nursing home.

Under the proposed agreement, Kindred would invest $10 million to remodel an existing hospital building and would lease hospital and rehabilitation beds from the fund. That would give much needed revenue to the fund, which provides various social and healthcare services to entertainment industry workers.

But the signing of the deal, which was originally expected to be completed by the end of 2011, has been delayed by uncertainty over whether Congress will extend a moratorium on the building of long-term acute care facilities.

The current moratorium is to expire at the end of this year. Lawmakers are weighing whether to extend the moratorium one or two more years, as part of a controversial plan to help preserve Medicare payments to physicians at their current levels.

But predicting when and whether that will happen in a deeply divided Congress is unclear. And Motion Picture & Television Fund board members are reluctant to greenlight any deal with Kindred until the moratorium issue is clarified, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential.

The delay is the latest setback for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, which announced plans to close the facilities three years ago, saying they were losing millions of dollars each year, mainly because of losses at the nursing home’s hospital. 

But the decision sparked a revolt among residents and their families, who complained that the fund, a charity launched by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and other Hollywood luminaries, was abandoning its charter to care for entertainment industry workers. They mounted a campaign to keep the nursing home open and hired a high-profile attorney to block residents from being evicted.

The board last summer tapped a new chief executive, former Panavision Inc. Chief Executive Bob Beitcher, who has been working on various alternatives to shutting down the nursing home, where only 29 of the more than 130 residents remain. The board turned to Kindred last year after a deal with Providence Health & Services to manage the facilities fell through. Providence balked at assuming financial responsibility for the operations.

Under the pending arrangement, Kindred, which operates long-term acute care hospitals and nursing rehabilitation centers nationwide, would take over some functions of the existing hospital while offering new acute-care services. The Motion Picture & Television Fund would continue to operate the nursing home.

Regardless of what happens with Kindred, people close to the fund say the board is committed to keeping the nursing home open, but on a smaller scale with about 40 beds. The fund also would save money by streamlining services and shutting down the existing general services hospital, which was built in the 1960s and has been a financial drain on the charity.

The fund has set aside $10 million to help refurbish the existing nursing home and pay for other new services, including a geriatric and psychiatric care unit that would be operated in affiliation with UCLA Health System. UCLA operates the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood and has many patients on the Westside who could be served by the nursing home.

RELATED:

Motion picture home close to new deal with partner

Providence agrees to take over motion picture home

Movie industry hospital and nursing home to close

Photo: Protesters in 2009 rally against the planned closure of the Woodland Hills nursing home and hospital operated by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Quinten Smoller, 5, center, and his family showed up to support his grandmother Ava Bliss, 85, an actress, rear center in wheelchair. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

— Richard Verrier 

Motion Picture Nursing Home close to a deal with new partner

Nursing home

Following the collapse of a deal with hospital chain Providence Health and Services, officials from the Motion Picture & Television Fund are close to finalizing an agreement with another national healthcare provider that would keep Hollywood's most famous nursing home afloat. 

In February, the fund announced it had reached an agreement with Providence to manage the hospital and nursing home in Woodland Hills. But the arrangement fell apart this summer after Providence, a Renton, Wash.-based nonprofit health services provider, balked at assuming financial responsibility for the operations.

Since then, fund officials have been working to find another national healthcare company that would manage the nursing home and adjoining acute care facility.

"MPTF remains committed to keeping the long-term care facility open in Woodland Hills and expanding services available on campus,'' the fund said in a statement.

Under the proposed plan, the yet-to-be-identified third-party healthcare provider would also assume financial responsibility for the hospital under a separate license. The company would pay a fee to lease hospital beds. 

The lease payments, combined with greater efficiencies from the new management company,  continued cost cutting within the funds' operations, and private donations are expected to significantly reduce the financial burden on the fund and allow it to keep the facilities open.

The new operating company would contribute $15 million to remodel part of the nursing home and hospital, with the fund committing another $10 million that would be defrayed through private donations, said a person briefed on the plans who asked not to be identified because negotiations are confidential.

The collapse of the deal with Providence was first reported by Deadline Hollywood on Wednesday.

The fund's board announced in January 2009 that it intended to close the facilities, saying they were losing millions of dollars a year. Residents and supporters fiercely opposed the plans, saying the fund was abandoning its charter to care for entertainment industry workers, and mounted a campaign to keep the Motion Picture Home open. 

Currently, 33 residents remain in the home, in addition to another 29 in the Alzheimer's unit Harry's Haven.

"In light of what's happened, we are disappointed, but we're gratified that, in keeping with our historic mission, MPTF has renewed its commitment to long-term care and to ensuring its future," said Nancy Biederman, founder of Saving the Lives of Our Own, which has lobbied to keep the home operating.

RELATED:

Providence agrees to take over Motion Picture Home

State regulator fines Motion Picture & TV Fund - again

Movie industry hospital and nursing home to close

--Richard Verrier

Photo: Protesters earlier this year rally against the planned closure of the Woodland Hills nursing home and hospital operated by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Quinten Smoller, 5, center, and his family showed up to support his grandmother Ava Bliss, 85, an actress, rear center in wheelchair. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez


 

Family of deceased nursing home patient sues Motion Picture & Television Fund for negligence

The family of an 89-year-old resident of the Motion Picture & Television Fund's nursing home who died after falling down a stairwell is suing the charity for negligence.

A recent lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys alleges nursing staff failed to properly monitor Carrie Delay, a wheelchair-bound patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease who fell off a landing between the first and second floors of the Woodland Hills nursing home in October. Delay fractured her spine and sustained other injuries from the incident that caused her death a week later.

The suit is seeking unspecified punitive damages for wrongful death, elderly abuse and negligence.

A spokeswoman for the fund declined to comment.

The incident was the most serious to date at the skilled nursing facility, which has faced complaints from residents and family members alleging a deteriorating quality of care since the fund announced plans to shut down the nursing home and hospital (the fund's board now plans to turn over the operation to Catholic hospital chain Providence Health & Services).

The fund was recently fined $10,000 by the California Department of Public Health for failing to prevent multiple falls by a patient in the facility's unit for Alzheimer's patients. And last year, the agency imposed a $7,500 fine against the fund for failing to prevent a serious head injury to an 87-year-old resident.

-- Richard Verrier

RELATED:

State regulator fines Motion Picture & TV Fund - again

Providence agrees to take over Motion Picture Home

Motion Picture & TV Fund fined over serious injury to patient

 

 

 

State regulator fines Motion Picture & TV Fund -- again

The Motion Picture & Television Fund, a nursing home and hospital for retired entertainment industry workers in Woodland Hills, continues to be dogged by questions about the quality of care.

California's Department of Public Health recently assessed a $10,000 fine against the fund for failing to prevent multiple falls by a patient in the facility's unit for Alzeheimer's patients.

The patient fell seven times from Feb. 3 to May 17, 2010, fracturing a left shoulder and pelvic ring, according to a report on the incident.

The accident is one of several that have raised questions about the facility's level of care in the months after the fund announced plans to shut down the nursing home and hospital. Many residents refused to leave, and the board has since reversed its decision and is working on a plan to turn over the operation to Catholic hospital chain Providence Health & Services.

Last year, the agency imposed a $7,500 fine against the fund for failing to prevent a serious head injury sustained by an 87-year-old resident. The state also is investigating the death of an 89-year-old wheelchair-bound patient who fell down a staircase at the long-term care facility.

"During the past 15 months the Long Term Care Resident Family Council has written many letters to fund administrators detailing the MPTF’s increasingly inhospitable organizational culture, which resulted in falls, injuries and even death among our family members,'' said Dean Butler, a member of the council, which advocates on behalf of the nursing home's residents. "Our concerns were routinely dismissed as inaccurate, irrelevant and disruptive ... However, the emerging pattern of Department of Public Health fines against the MPTF is public confirmation that our concerns have been both justified and accurate."

Representatives of the fund declined to comment.

 -- Richard Verrier

 

 

 

Providence agrees to take over Motion Picture Home

Hollywood's struggling nursing home may have a new operator, averting a shutdown that has been in the works for nearly two years.

The Motion Picture and Television Fund said Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with hospital chain Providence Health & Services that will allow the fund to keep the hospital and nursing home open.

Under the proposed agreement, which was first reported in The Times in December, Providence would sign a long-term lease agreement with the fund to manage the 250-bed hospital and nursing home, avoiding a controversial planned closing of the facilities. State licenses for the hospital would be transferred to nearby Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

In addition, UCLA Health System will assist in the "revitalization of the medical" program, operating a new neurological rehabilitation unit at the facility, the fund said in a statement.

"Over the last year, I have been working closely with my fellow board members and management to find a positive resolution to our long-term care and acute-care issue,'' said Bob Beitcher, the fund's chief executive.

The fund's board had announced in January 2009 that it intended to close the facilities, saying they were losing millions each year. Residents and their supporters fought back, saying comparable facilities were not available elsewhere and that the fund was abandoning its charter to take care of entertainment industry workers. They hired an attorney to block eviction and mounted a campaign to keep the nursing home afloat.

The final agreement is still subject to approval by the fund's board, as well as state regulators.

-- Richard Verrier

Feds 'raid' websites trading counterfeit goods

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the feds are once again cracking down on websites dealing in bootleg goods.

The Department of Justice said Monday that it moved to seize 82 domain names of websites "engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyright works."

The illegal goods include sports equipment, shoes, handbags and sunglasses, as well as the usual merchandise: illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.

Federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods, which in many cases were shipped to the U.S. directly from suppliers in other countries using international express mail.

"Intellectual property crimes are not victimless,'' said Atty. Gen. Eric Holder in a statement. "The theft of ideas and sale of counterfeit goods threaten economic opportunities and financial stability, suppress innovation and destroy jobs."

The operation, which involved several federal agencies, comes six months after authorities seized domain names of eight websites offering pirated copies of first-run movies. One of those sites, TVShack.net,  shut down only to pop up under a similar name, TVShack.cc.

That U.K. domain site was among those seized on Monday, said John Morton, director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We are not going to go away,'' Morton said.

Naturally, the film industry's leading trade group was happy with the crackdown. Bob Pisano, chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, called the Internet sites '' 'the worst of the worst' rogue websites, which cloak themselves in respectability and yet traffic in counterfeit and stolen goods."

-- Richard Verrier

 

State clears movie fund of fault in nursing home transfers

The California Department of Public Health has reversed its earlier finding that the Motion Picture and Television Fund broke state law when the charity transferred dozens of residents out of its nursing home.

The department said this month that the fund had been at fault for not issuing to more than 30 residents 30-day notices informing them of their rights, including the option to appeal the decision to relocate them. Fund administrators appealed, however, maintaining that the relocations were voluntary and didn't require the notices.This week the department agreed, clearing the fund of fault.

“We feel strongly vindicated,'' said Bob Beitcher, chief executive of the fund. “It's gratifying that the dispute resolution process worked and we were able to clear our name in this matter that had become a cause celebre.”

Bob Pisano, chairman of the fund's board, hailed the reversal and said a “rush to judgment” had unfairly hurt the charity's reputation. “The conclusion drawn by many — that we lawlessly evicted our residents — is untrue,'' he said.

Department of Public Health spokesman Ralph Montano said the original decision “was withdrawn after we came to the realization that there was no closure date given to the residents, and therefore the formal closure process had never been initiated.”

The reversal drew an angry response from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which filed the original complaint. “It is appalling the [department] has capitulated to pressure from the [motion picture fund] to allow it to trample on the rights of its residents,” spokesman Michael Connors said. He said his organization would appeal the decision.

A group fighting the planned closure of the nursing home, Saving the Lives of Our Own, also protested the reversal. “If this is the way agencies protect the people they are supposed to protect, we're in big trouble,” said Nancy Biederman, co-founder of the group. “I'd like to know the basis for the decision.”

Beitcher said neither the fund nor its board pressured the department to change its position, saying the organization followed the normal process for lodging an appeal.

The department's initial ruling on the notices, disclosed by The Times this month, further fueled anger among representatives of nursing home residents who have been calling for the ouster of the home's management.

Fund officials announced in January 2009 that they planned to close the nursing home and hospital, saying they were losing millions, jeopardizing other services provided by the charity. But the board postponed the closure plans after residents and their families mounted a campaign opposing the move. About 50 residents remain in the home, which had more than 100 before the transfers began.

As part of the original report that faulted the transfers, state inspectors also said they found in a June visit to the home that two residents had suffered severe weight loss and sustained falls and fractures without an adequate response from nursing home staff. The report also said residents had been given medication without justification. The department recently substantiated another complaint about improper care for a resident who cut her forehead and fractured her finger after falling from a wheelchair.

Fund officials have disputed claims that care has deteriorated and say they are complying will all state and federal standards.

-- Richard Verrier

Related:

Motion-picture fund broke law in transferring nursing home residents, state says

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