Since my kid was a little boy and fascinated with movie making, we loved playing the Kevin Bacon version of Six Degrees of Separation.
Now there is another version, and it’s not so much fun. His grandmother, along with all the other residents at the Motion Picture and Television Fund long term care center, is within a Few Degrees of Obliteration at the hands of Jeffrey Katzenberg and his fellow board members.
The guillotine blade has started its downward course. On the chopping block are not only the elderly and infirm heads of the MPTF long term care residents, but the soul of motion picture and television health care. The blades’ aim is to cut off both — cleanly, mercilessly, and with surgical precision. The torso that remains will be held up to a firing squad while the board takes aim at the rest of industry health care.
You would think that somebody considered an A-lister would stand up and be counted. Where are the Tom Hankses, George Clooneys and Meryl Streeps? Yeah, Darfur is a real travesty. We should all go to Malawi and adopt a child — but look what’s happening at home to your own elders.
The Killing Fields happen to be in Woodland Hills, down the street from Gelsons and just over Topanga Canyon from Malibu. Our residents are dying — your elder motion picture and television industry peers are dying. Transfer trauma is a real condition that some feel have claimed our residents as of this writing. One of you needs to step up to the plate and hit a home run for the families.
I’m out of metaphors, so let me get down on my knees and start pleading from the heart: Please help us! Tour the facility with us, and then review the "first class" facilities that they aim to transfer our elders to. You wouldn’t kennel your dog in them.
We’ve reached out to all through friends of friends. It’s a virtual Six Degrees of Tom Hanks game. Nobody has responded. Hell, we even got turned down by Rob Reiner. Now that hurt!
Even without the clout of a big name, the families along with their supporters have maintained momentum in their fight to keep the long term care center open and viable. We and our saviours are waiting in the rushes, eyeing Katzenberg not unlike a pack of Aussie Dingos who are about to spring on a yummy little Wombat. This is no DreamWorks 3D movie, it’s reality — cold and unforgiving.
It’s become evident through actions by the MPTF board that the first to go will be the elderly and infirm — what’s next? Harry’s Haven for Alzheimer’s patients? Managed care at the cottages? Intermediate care? Your own physician? There will come a day when Tom Hanks won’t be able to get his MPTF proctologist on the phone. And don’t kid yourself by saying "believe me, his proctologist is ensconced in opulent digs on Wilshire Boulevard." The best caregivers on God’s Green Earth are at the MPTF. I’d take any one of them over any other Beverly Hills health professional.
There will come a day when the entire industry will be looking for a proctologist.
We need to fight. We need to stop the closure of the long term care facility.
See Saving the Lives of Our Own for more information on the MPTF Home controversy.