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'No plans' for eviction at care home

The Motion Picture & TV Fund appears to retreat from plans to close the facility. Yet residents must still find a new place to live.

March 14, 2009|Richard Verrier

In an apparent gambit to head off a legal challenge, the charity that operates a nursing home for entertainment industry workers said it has "no plans" to issue eviction notices to more than 100 residents.

On the face of it, the announcement makes it seem as though the Motion Picture & Television Fund, operator of the Woodland Hills facility, is backpedaling from its decision to close the nursing home.

In fact, it doesn't change the reality that the retirees will soon have to find a new place to live.

"Nothing in the board's plan has changed in terms of the decision to close the hospital and long-term care facility by the end of the year," said fund spokeswoman Ellen Davis.

The announcement struck some as little more than a legal maneuver to forestall residents' families from filing an anticipated lawsuit alleging that the charity has broken its commitment to provide lifetime care.

Residents and their families said they were first told by nursing home administrators that they would begin receiving notices of "intent to relocate" 60 days after the closing was announced in mid-January. The charity's board said it could no longer afford to operate the hospital and nursing home because of rising costs and declining reimbursements.

But such arguments failed to convince residents and families, who believe the fund's board had reneged on its promise of "taking care of our own." They've mounted a campaign to keep the home afloat and retained law firm Girardi & Keese to fight the board's decision. On Friday, Jim O'Callahan, an attorney at Girardi & Keese, said a fund representative told him the charity's board would present a proposal by the end of the month aimed at addressing the residents' concerns.

"We would hope and expect that their proposal would address the concerns that we've articulated, which is to keep people in their home and ensure that the fund addresses its historical goals and aims," O'Callahan said.

Fund spokeswoman Davis, however, said there was no proposal.

So far, about 11 of the roughly 100 residents have been relocated to other homes. Fund officials say they are in the process of identifying suitable homes for the residents and have assigned "care teams" to assist them. Some residents, however, have complained that there is a shortage of available beds at quality homes, and that social workers have been pressuring them to move out against their wishes.

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richard.verrier@latimes.com

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