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Motion picture nursing home close to deal with new partner

Officials say a national healthcare provider would manage both the long-term-care unit and adjoining acute-care facility in Woodland Hills.

October 07, 2011|By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

After the collapse of a deal with hospital chain Providence Health & 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 that 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.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund said in a statement that it "remains committed to keeping the long-term-care facility open in Woodland Hills and expanding services available on campus."

Under the proposed plan, the yet-to-be-identified third-party healthcare provider also would 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 an additional $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 Wednesday by the website Deadline Hollywood.

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 nursing home open.

Currently, 33 residents remain in the home, in addition to 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, [the Motion Picture & Television Fund] 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.

richard.verrier@latimes.com

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