Can Bob Pisano Resolve MPTF Nursing Home Controversy?


A change in leadership at the top of the Motion Picture and Television Fund was met with optimism Wednesday by people who have been protesting the fund’s decision to close its Long-Term Care unit and acute-care hospital in Woodland Hills.

Bob Pisano, currently the president and interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, has been elected chairman of the MPTF, succeeding Frank Mancuso, who served in that post since 2003 and will continue to serve on the board for the next two years as immediate past chair.

“We are very fortunate to have found an individual with the unique combination of experience, dedication, integrity and compassion to take on this responsibility,” Mancuso said in a written statement. “Bob Pisano understands what the organization means to the entertainment industry, and I cannot think of a more qualified person to lead MPTF forward.”

Pisano will be stepping into a thorny issue. The MPTF touched off a public relations nightmare when it announced in 2009 that it plans to close the Long-Term Care unit and hospital portion of its decades-old Woodland Hills complex.

Nancy Biederman, co-founder of Saving the Lives of Our Own, which is spearheading the fight to keep the facility open, issued a statement Wednesday in response to Pisano’s election:

“We look forward to working with Mr. Pisano for the good of the residents and the Motion Picture and Television Fund. We hope that he displays the leadership and vision that the Fund needs as well as an understanding of and appreciation for the historic mission of the MPTF.”

Melody Sherwood, whose elderly mother, Kay Meyer, has lived in the Long-Term Care unit for five years, told HollywoodNews: “We would certainly hope that the Motion Picture Home would now have an appreciation and understanding of its historic mission.” She said the Long-Term Care unit is now down to 55 residents.

“But it’s not just the nursing home,” she explained. “There are people living on the campus who expected to remain on the campus until their final days. The whole purpose of the Motion Picture Home is that once you move in and retire there, you are cared for there the rest of your life. If the nursing home is closed, what are all the other residents going to do who are reasonably healthy now? Are they going to be thrown out and left on their own? That would be a betrayal of what a retirement community is supposed to be.”

The fund’s leadership has pointed to soaring medical costs and the recessionary economy as reasons they need to close the facility. They estimate it would take $10 million a year to operate.

DreamWorks’ co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who chairs the MPTF Foundation, issued a written statement noting that Pisano has been a friend and colleague of his for over 20 years:

“During that time I’ve admired his willingness to take on and resolve critical and complex issues involving all aspects of the industry. As MPTF continues to look at every aspect of its operations, governance, and mission, having Bob’s leadership in navigating the organization through these matters will be truly valuable. I share the excitement of our other board members in welcoming Bob to this new role.”

About Robert W. Welkos

Executive Editor: Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the entertainment industry for 15 years as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. During this span, he wrote extensively about the movie industry from turmoil in the executive suites, the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and box office hits and bombs to visits to movie sets as well as profiles of top stars and A-list directors, cutting edge features on the newest indie films and visits to famous film festivals like Sundance and Cannes. Prior to entertainment, Welkos worked as a reporter and assistant city editor in The Times’ Metro section where he undertook major investigations for the paper as well as covering breaking news and writing in-depth features. Before joining The Times, he worked for the Associated Press in Reno, Nevada, and City News Service in Los Angeles.

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  • April 28, 2010 | Permalink |

    Guess even Mancuso couldn’t get the job done so it’s next tough rich guy up. It’s too obvious. Betcha he’s in to sweet talk SAG members into going silently, right? “If you can’t live at home, we won’t provide a Nursing Home but we’ll give you hospice care.” How kind of them isn’t it? Are we dogs?
    The planned closure is not about the Nursing Home losing money. The Nursing Home alone brings in $24 million plus a year for a full house of 185 residents [by not allowing in new residents, they can now show a loss] and the Fund owns the land, the building, and as a charity pays no taxes. Plus the Fund gets paid for medications and medical tests separately. Plus the Fund gets donations [though they refuse to allow donations to go to keeping the Nursing Home open] and has an annuity that’s back up – big time! This is about a bunch of wealthy power guys with millions to billions who have decided that if “you” the Industry worker can’t live at home, then it’s time for you to go – because “you” aren’t worth wasting resources on. Get it, no more Nursing Home for you, the worker, the ant. Something like this doesn’t impact you if you happen to have 10’s or hundreds of millions or even multiple billions of dollars. That can keep you well taken care of at home under the worst of circumstances. This is about “you” and your loved ones, get it? So not only have the main power guys here making the call made millions and billions in this Industry off the backs of Industry workers, they have now decided that your life ends when they say it ends, unless of course you happen to have millions or billions.
    Wake up and visit the Nursing Home and take a stand. Fight this, Get involved!!!

  • April 29, 2010 | Permalink |

    Dear Mr. Pisano –

    Please take a walk in the nearly empty LTC wings and try to imagine a time when the elderly and handicapped filled the rooms, activity centers, and commons. I remember when that was. Now, the remaining residents you see, those who can express feelings, might share with you their anxiety and insecurity over what tomorrow may bring. If they don’t, please understand – they are scared and hesitant to anger anyone.

    When the LTC had a waiting list, and was known as one of the premiere 24 hour skilled nursing centers in the country, imagine the pride that was bestowed upon the industry for being the hallmark in this type of care.

    While you’re walking the halls of the LTC, please say hi to my mom Mary. She’s 92 years old, frail, and well-cared for. Her environment is as much a part of her as anything else. To remove her to another, no matter how opulent, would probably kill her, as I suspect it has to others that have left.

  • April 29, 2010 | Permalink |

    Thank you Richard. You know how to express what I am feeling all the time . How sad it is to see the empty rooms knowing they could be filled with those in medical need. When is this going to stop.? With your help and all the others we shall overcome.

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