MPTF’s Beitcher: Providence Talks Over, New Partner May Be Announced Soon

Exclusive: CEO says the fund has moved on after Providence talks broke down over money


Motion Picture and Television Fund Chief Executive Officer Bob Beitcher admitted to TheWrap on Friday that talks with Providence Health & Services have collapsed, but said that a new deal with another partner to take over operations of the fund’s longterm care facility may be announced this month.

“We’re staying open,” Beitcher told TheWrap. “We’re honoring that commitment, but we’ve moved to a plan B, and I think plan B is very viable and may be even better than A was.”

He said that negotiations with the healthcare provider to take on operational and financial responsibility for the money-losing facility went south by Labor Day — a fact that the MPTF did not want to acknowledge until it had another deal in place.

Also read: MPTF CEO Beitcher Reassures Staff After Failure of Deal With Providence

Ultimately, Beitcher said that Providence could not find a way to make the numbers work. When the MPTF announced its plans to shutter its longterm care arm in 2009, it said it was bleeding money at a rate of $10 million a year.

“People didn’t want to believe us when we said this was about money, but Providence spent six or seven months trying to figure out how to make it work, and they couldn’t,” Beitcher said.

Though Providence couldn’t come up with a solution, Beitcher said he is confident that a new partner will find a viable plan.

“We’re pretty close to something, but unfortunately we’re not close enough to announce something,” Beitcher said. “Talks are still fragile.”

He said that a new deal to keep the longterm care operations up and running would be similar in scope to the one outlined in the letter of intent MPTF signed with Providence last spring.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Providence was to sign a long-term lease for the MPTF hospital facilities. State licenses for the 250-bed hospital were then to be transferred to nearby Providence Tarzana Medical Center.