MPTF Chief Beitcher Grilled: ‘It’s a Big Win For Everybody’

The CEO on how partnering with Providence Health will save the Fund’s hospital and longterm care facility

The announcement that the Motion Picture and Television Fund has entered into a non-binding agreement with Providence Health & Services that will keep its longterm care facility open, signaled the beginning of the end of a two-year battle between the hospital's leadership and grassroots groups. 

Fresh from unveiling a plan to save the cash-strapped hospital, MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher chatted with TheWrap about what the big changes being planned for the Fund's Woodland Hills campus and why he bares the organizers no ill will. 

What does today’s news mean? Is longterm care at the MPTF here to stay?

We’re going to have the opportunity to continue to provide longterm care on our campus for our entire residential community. It means that the people who live here will have a continuum of care, which was a large concern. Now they’ll be able to stay on and be with their friends and loved one.

Does the announcement mean that the acrimony will end?

It’s a big win for everybody, as for the acrimony who will tell. It’s not all nailed down. There are still layers to be peeled, but there is no reason for people not to feel good.

It took two years to reach this point and a lot of pain. Was the closure necessary?

The simple answer is we searched for alternatives two years ago and at the time none of these partnerships, iincluding the one with Providence were available. Back in 2009, Providence was still buying the Tarzana Medical Center from Tenet. They had so much on their plate that they couldn’t consider doing something with us. Now, pursuant to the Health Care Act, companies are looking for scale and breadth, and Providence’s world has changed.

Did grassroots groups such as Saving the Lives of Our Own pressure the MPTF to come up with an alternative?

We knew that we had to go down the process of closure or risk the Fund, but did we ever give up on an alternative solution? The answer is no. Did they do a good job of keeping the need in the forefront of our minds? Absolutely.

When the MPTF announced that the hospital would close, it cited millions of dollars of losses. How is it financially feasible to keep the hospital running?

The losses have gone down some, not a lot. That’s simply by nature of having fewer residents. It’s Providence’s view that given totality of services it will offer, from dementia care to palliative care, this will be financially viable for them.

Ultimately, it’s moving from our financial responsibility to their’s.

Last year you consolidated your longterm care facility. Where will patients be housed now that you are expanding services again?

We’re going to take the building that we moved everyone out of, the Pavilion, and substantially renovate it. We’re going to upgrade the bathrooms, the showers. We’re going to turn it into a great looking facility.

We’ll be making cosmetic changes throughout the facility. Over the next six to ten month period, the campus will be busier than ever, we’ll have more services and our buildings will be modernized.  

How has the campus reacted to the news? 

Some people will find something to dislike. The key message is miracle of miracles, two groups found a common mission and common way of coming together to provide health care services in a high qulaity compassionate way.