Over a year ago the Hollywood machine that had Jeff Katzenberg at its helm tried to divert the course of motion picture and television health care. By choosing the most frail and handicapped to sacrifice at the altar of their misguided theology, their temple is toppling under the weight of public outrage.
In the Biblical sense, this is not so much a David and Goliath story, as it is the embodiment of the words in Psalm 71:9: "Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone."
Being a Jewish kid who grew up in the Valley, I had to spend the last 20 minutes researching on the internet to make sure I knew what I was talking about. Maybe a sentiment closer to my world would be a lyric from "All You Need Is Love":
"There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done"
While we savor this event the following days will show exactly what this means. Dr. David Tillman has left the building. Unlike Elvis, it was not to a standing ovation or the tossing of lacey undies and sweaty towels onto a Las Vegas stage. Tillman left with a whimper, not a roar. I’m hoping that he left the lights on and the door ajar so that Seth Ellis can also find his way out, along with other individuals who have gleefully worked to end the reign of the Long Term Care Unit.
I remember how someone, I think it was Jeff Katzenberg himself, characterized our group, Saving the Lives of Our Own, as: a ragtag group of disgruntled family members. I’m paraphrasing, but you get my drift. Yes, we are pretty ragtag and we are definitely disgruntled. Fortunately for us, we also can be pretty damned convincing and we travel in good company. Knowing that the good people who belong to SAG have your back not only adds street cred to your mission, but when you add the strength of the Teamsters to SAG’s influence in the industry, how can they stop us?
As we see the clouds part over a Tillman-less campus, we are reminded that those who orchestrated stunts like placing a fake police car in the parking lot, called the cops on us in the presence of our horrified family, all but barred access and egress to the residents, are still there. We must follow through and ramp up the heat.
It’s the heat we’ve generated that melted Tillman’s hold on the future of health care.
Let’s hope that Tillman’s departure is the beginning of a process that will return the nursing home to its once world-class status. Tillman is hopefully the first of many rats that will leave their own sinking ship. We are reminded that before the reign of Tillman, you couldn’t get in the place it was so popular. Now it is a ghost of its former self. Not for long.
Note to Seth Ellis: Don’t buy any long-playing records.