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Katzenberg says decision to close nursing home clouded by bad PR

February 11, 2009 |  6:00 pm


DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg made a mea culpa on Wednesday, saying that the Motion Picture & Television Fund had done a poor job of communicating the reasons for its decision to close the hospital and nursing home.

"We give ourselves a failing grade,"  said Katzenberg, who chairs the charity's fundraising board. "This has not been communicated well."

But Katzenberg and other board members stood by their decision, describing it as a necessary move to preserve the viability of the organization and its various other programs, which includes six healthcare centers, child care services and a retirement community in Woodland Hills with 215 residents.Ctlogosmall

"We have made a decision that allows this incredibly important enterprise to live on and have a great future," he said during a conference call with reporters, aimed at quelling fury among the residents' family members who are angry over the facility's closure.

David Tillman, the fund's CEO, said there was a $20-million gap between program revenues and the cost of services that was projected to widen because of rising medical costs and declining reimbursements from the government. In the past, he said, the fund could rely on investment income and philanthropy to make up the shortfall, but that option is no longer possible because of the deep recession.

Frank Mancuso, chairman of the fund's corporate board, said that the board had already taken various steps to stem losses, including closing the hospital's costly intensive care unit, but had run out of options. "We left no stone unturned," he said.

-- Richard Verrier