MPTF Bows to Pressure, Will Begin Admitting New Patients to Long-Term Care Unit

The number of patients at the Wasserman facility has dwindled to 29 from more than 150 when closure of the facility was first announced

In a victory for the grassroots group Saving the Lives of Our Own, the Motion Picture and Television Fund will immediately begin admitting people to the long-term care unit on its Wasserman campus in Woodland Hills, the organization said on Wednesday. 

The group has been agitating for three years for the facility to keep its doors open, as well as offer space to new patients. 

Facing fierce public pressure from campus residents, patients and their families, the MPTF abandoned its closures plans last year.

"I'm absolutely overjoyed with this news," Melody Sherwood, whose mother is a resident of the unit, told TheWrap.

"This whole thing proves that a small group of people can make a big difference. It is just wonderful for the current residents, because admitting new blood will bring life back into the unit, but it is also a magnificent day for Hollywood."

Also read: 7 Staff Members Laid Off at MPTF

After announcing plans to close the facility in 2009, the MPTF stopped admitting new patients to the facility. However, even after agreeing to remain open, administrators said they would not admit new residents until they found another health-care provider to share the administrative and financial burden. 

Last fall, a plan to keep the money-losing long-term care facility and acute care hospital open by transferring operations to Providence Health & Services was abandoned over financial concerns.

The number of patients has dwindled from nearly 140 when the closure plans were first announced to just 29 patients. Patients' families had said that their loved ones had become depressed as old friends died without new residents coming into the unit to replace them. 

Also read: Victory at the MPTF: A True Hollywood David and Goliath Story

First priority for admission will be given to former MPTF long-term care residents who moved off campus at the time of the announcement of the proposed closure of the unit in 2009. When fully occupied, it will allow for 40 residents — substantially less than it is licensed to provide services for.

In its heyday the MPTF housed more than 150 patients. 

“We are excited to finally be able to bring more residents into long-term care,” Bob Beitcher, president and CEO of MPTF, said in a statement. “This will be a pivotal moment for current long-term care residents and their families, other campus residents, and staff. It will restore the continuum of care on campus everyone has been hoping for,” Beitcher finished. 

MPTF’s long-term care and dementia care units will continue to be exclusive to entertainment industry members.

"We wish to thank those in the rank-and-file as well as the prominent industry figures who worked together to uphold the Fund's historic mission and move it forward making this day possible," Saving the Lives of Our Own said in a statement. "That the MPTF has embraced Long Term Care on our Wasserman campus is a victory for everyone."

Following the failure of the Providence Health & Services plan, the MPTF has continued its search for a new partner. 

An alternative plan was supposed to be in place and announced by the end of last year, but that too has hit a speed-bump. A rumored scenario that would involve bringing on Kindred Healthcare to take over the Woodland Hills complex has reportedly stalled until Congress makes a decision about whether it will keep a moratorium on constructing new longterm care facilities in place.