Showbizreporting's Blog

January 14, 2011

Saving the Lives of Our Own Hospital

Dear Friends –

It was two years ago today that the letter announcing the closure of Motion Picture & Television Fund Long Term Care was sent to spouses and children of the elderly nursing home residents. The letter gave us roughly 60 days to move our family to other facilities. Upon inspection, many of these facilities did not come close to the level of care or cleanliness of what was the only viable care facility for those who paid into it over the years.

Our elders, who in most cases had no more money left to support their care in an upscale facility, were about to be cast to the wind.

We stood up, and made a difference. As you are well aware, the Long Term Care unit is still active, and the MPTF has voiced their commitment to continue Long Term Care in the future. We rallied here on facebook, in the streets, on the Internet, and in the hearts of the motion picture and television industry. While we were waiting for A-list actors to stand among us, we decided to be proactive, and in the end, we didn’t need them.

Our work however is not done. The fight that began as saving a nursing home has turned into a Motion Picture Home campus wide struggle to insure the continuum of care. The fight that began on behalf of 130+ of the most elderly and infirm residents turned into a wave of consciousness whose aim is to insure skilled nursing and long term care for generations to come. The fight that began in Woodland Hills, CA has raised issues of elder care worldwide. The motion picture industry is a template for the world when it comes to charitable outreach and diversity. Now it will be a shining example of how ‘we take care of our own’ in a modern world.

We don’t cave to temporary economic challenges by plucking the low-hanging fruit of the elderly to salve our concerns. We dig into our pockets and use our creativity to raise funds.

In this case, it wasn’t about money – it was about compassion. And you showed it, delivered with a resolve that left the MPTF board shaking.

The third year will be the charm. Please hang in there and become even more involved in this struggle. It’s not over, not by a long shot. We will take the momentum we have and continue to shine a light on this to the industry and to the world.

Please enlist your friends to join us. Tell your industry brothers and sisters about the plight of the elderly at the Motion Picture Home. Join us at www.savingthelivesofourown.org.

You have already saved some lives, let’s continue to save more – along with the future of motion picture and television healthcare.

Please see my blog at http://www.thewrap.com/media/blog-post/mptf-it-was-2-years-ago-today-23889

Best,

Richard

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February 3, 2010

SAVING THE LIVES OF OUR OWN HOSPITAL NEWS

DR. DAVID TILLMAN RESIGNS!!!

By Richard Stellar

Over a year ago the Hollywood machine that had Jeff Katzenberg at its helm tried to divert the course of motion picture and television healthcare. 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.”

We have achieved our most significant victory in our fight to save the remaining residents from eviction and to return the ‘continuum of care’ that is embodied in the phrase ‘taking care of our own’.

Dr. David Tillman has resigned. This is major my friends. Take a victory lap. You’ve done well.

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.

Our work is not done. Winning a battle doesn’t mean you’ve won the war. Please, get your friends to join us. Sign our petition.

If my mother could speak, she would thank every one of you. So would the other residents who are at risk now, and those who, thanks to you, will be able to enjoy these services during their final years.

Well done.

Best,

Richard

P.S. Sign the freaking petition already! Pretty please, with sugar on top!

http://www.facebook.com/l/71326;www.thepetitionsite.com/1/keeptheMPTFhomeopen

December 26, 2009

Christmas Caroling at the Motion Picture Home

Dear Friends –

Our SAG friends showed up in force to serenade the residents and caregivers at the Motion Picture Home last night, Christmas, 2009.

I’d like to thank Bill Smitrovich for his dedication and organizational skills. Smitty, you pulled this one off and I believe the smiles we received from the residents were payment in full for a night of fun, love and showmanship.

Please log onto our Saving the Lives of Our Own facebook page to see the great photos. If anyone has photos of the group that serenaded Harry’s Haven, please add. As a matter of fact, please add any of your photos.

We will be there again this time next year. I don’t have to remind you that the facility was to be closed down on October 20. Our victory is only a small and fleeting one. They still have plans to close.

Nothing has changed.

We have not won anything but a ‘stay of execution’. The good news is that their ranks are splintering, and many who were initially opposed to our efforts will probably be ‘jumping in for the big win’ (see Full Metal Jacket for the rest of that quote).

Have a great holiday. Thanks for saving lives. We will not back down.

Instead, we will ramp up the heat until the Long Term Care facility meets the motto of “Taking Care of Our Own” once again.

Best,

Richard

December 19, 2009

Saving the Lives of Own

Hi everyone –

It’s usually much easier to point a finger up as opposed to pointing a finger at an issue, a problem, or those responsible for the problem.

Now that we have kept the long term care facility open for the time being (the operating permit was renewed for another year), it is time to attack the root of the problem. Only in doing that will we be able to return the Motion Picture Home to its once world-class status as a care facility.

I am asking for the dismissal of CEO Dr. David Tillman and COO Seth Ellis. Beginning even before Dr. Tillman’s recommendation that the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit be abandoned, the dismantling of services as well as confidence in the fund would ultimately lead to where we are today – fighting for the future of motion picture and television healthcare.

Did Drs. Tillman and Ellis do this themselves? Of course not, but I feel that the agenda that they continue to pursue, characterized by some as ‘successful aging’, is the death knell to motion picture and television healthcare.

As it is, they have attempted to transition some residents of the long term care unit to Harry’s Haven. Harry’s is an incredible facility for the care and treatment of Alzheimer’s patients. The dilution of the purpose and core competency of Harry’s is what is now happening.

So what will be next?

I’ve written a blog at

http://www.thewrap.com/blog-entry/brighter-side-mptfs-transfer-trauma-12003

I would appreciate your comments and your voices in demanding that a regime change is needed at the Motion Picture Home.

Hope you have a great holiday. 2010 will be our year.

Best

Richard

November 26, 2009

Request from Richard

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 1:13 am
Tags: , ,

Dear Friends –

Tomorrow marks Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for your help, ideas, love and spirit. You have indeed saved lives as we celebrate the extension of the Motion Picture Home’s operating license for the Long Term Care and Acute Care Units for another year. This time next year I hope we are in an even greater mood as we celebrate the return to ‘Taking Care of Our Own’ in its original meaning and context.

Okay, got a favor to ask of you:

I’m putting up a special page on http://www.facebook.com/l/19ae2;www.savingthelivesofourown.org. Please send me photos of you, your mom and dad, or other images that I can put up on the website under the stirring words and music offered to us by the great Keith Emerson.

Being a last minute procrastinator – I need them right away. If you can get them to me a.s.a.p. I’ll be able to post them tomorrow.

Hope you have a great holiday!

Best,

Richard

November 12, 2009

The Wrap Article – STMPH

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 12:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

Dean Butler – one of the stalwart leaders of our crusade wrote this incredibly eloquent comment to the Wrap’s recent story on their tour of the Motion Picture Home, led by the fund’s spokeshole, Ken Scherer. While Ken was being lambasted unmercifully, this ray of clarity stood out in all the comments. Please leave your own at http://www.thewrap.com/article/tk-9840:

As the holidays approach its time for gratitude and peace, but its not Thanksgiving quite yet so there is still time for plain straight talk.

What a pathetic and revealing interview Mr. Scherer granted over the weekend to The Wrap. Why would the MPTF’s PR Crisis Manager allow it to happen? One could speculate that the force of events has begun to work against the MPTF’s draconian closure decision and now the tone of their words is shifting from arrogant certainty to verbal and body language hoping to evoke sympathy and pity from the community. Unfortunately he reveals his true agenda on the closure when he claims in The Wrap story that he can’t think about what to do with the buildings after the units close because he’s “too emotionally concerned with what ‘to do’ with the patients.” What “to do” with the patients? Scherer and his team don’t see their patients and residents as people to whom they made a promise of lifetime care, but rather as stuff they don’t want anymore.

At first the MPTF resolutely claimed they “had no choice” but to close. Now they’ve made “a few mistakes” and Mr. Scherer expresses concern that the organization’s reputation has been damaged by media and blogs that have publicly challenged the MPTF’s decisions since last January. Just in case you missed the story the MPTF is and has been the villain in this morality tale since the beginning. There is a right and wrong in this story and the MPTF is humanly, ethically, and morally wrong. They hide behind financial shortfalls that nobody believes exist.

Yes, Mr. Scherer, there have been mistakes — like making life changing decisions for residents in a vacuum, commissioning closure studies from consultants who were paid to provide pre-determined results, violating first amendment rights of family members, using social workers to mislead and frighten patients, having the in-house Rabbi comfort frightened residents by telling them “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”, placing security guards and studio police cars at entrances to intimidate visitors, banning family members from campus, restricting press access to residents who disagreed with the closure decision, and intentionally locking doors to inhibit the free movement of residents in their home. Now Mr. Scherer is trying to affably distance himself and his fellow managers from their own hardball tactics. Yes, there were many mistakes — now — because their tactics didn’t work. If residents and their families had compliantly moved to other LTC facilities months ago their tactics would be smugly celebrated from behind the closed doors of their elegant Saban Health Center offices.

For Mr. Scherer to blame the media and blogs, such as this one, for the MPTF’s troubles is both delusional and galling. Nobody is responsible for the MPTF’s sinking reputation but MPTF leadership. The MPTF created this issue by abandoning its historic mission of charity. Members of the management team and board may be lying awake at night trying to figure out how their miscalculations destroyed their reputations and the trust our community once had in the MPTF. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with the MPTF’s historic mission. The MPTF’s problems reside in the leadership agendas that abandoned the mission. But management issues can be solved by new faces or, as in the case of Ebenezer Scrooge (a holiday reference), an enlightened view of the future.

Mr. Scherer looked uncomfortable as he tried to find the right words to shift the MPTF’s role from villain to victim. Is this a change of heart or sober reflection on the potentially devastating impact of legal action if the MPTF proceeds on its original course? If MPTF leadership believed they were on solid legal ground, our often disheartening knowledge of them suggests LTC residents would have faced even more aggressive tactics as the October 31 closure deadline approached.

Even as the MPTF bobs and weaves looking for the moral high ground that has eluded them since the beginning of this crisis, our community, in ever growing numbers, continues to support LTC residents who are in jeopardy of loosing their homes. Sadly, they aren’t the only victims of this MPTF misfire. In fact, the residents of the MPTF’s Independent and Assisted Living communities face an equally frightening plight because they live each day knowing that their MPTF LTC safety net is, at present, gone. They are all only one unexpected incident away from loosing their homes and their life affirming contact with spouses, friends and caregivers — a fact that MPTF management has refused to acknowledge. Maybe they’ve just lost sight of what is so clear to the rest of us — eventually most every resident on the Wasserman Campus will need LTC. If they can’t get it at MPTF, Independent and Assisted Living residents will be forced to leave their home…maybe never to return. Is this the new “aging in place” mission in action?

And so the days pass and the perception of winners and losers is giving way to the necessity of survival—for all parties involved. Keep your eyes open everyone…we’re going to be subjected to some fantastic, if not particularly believable MPTF performances in the weeks ahead.

Mr. Scherer, Dr. Tillman, Nurse Ellis, Mr. Mancuso, Mr. Katzenberg, Mr. Koch and all the rest of them who have caused and supported this nightmare are now seeking to stave off their day of legal comeuppance and save their public lives. And frankly, all things considered, we hope they can. In the weeks ahead we’ll be hearing more and more language calculated to release the pressure that’s been building steadily against them…and maybe right around Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza, as if by magic, they will find the solution that only geniuses like them could have found…and the home will be saved, the fundraising money will roll again, and all will be forgiven. And Hollywood will have another story of redemption and the community will have gotten what its wanted and demanded all along — a happy, principled resolution to a crisis.

SMPH Victory Lap

Thanks to your involvement, the involvement of the Screen Actors Guild and The Teamsters, the caregivers, as well as the ominous presence of the resident’s law firm Girardi + Keese – The Motion Picture and Television Fund has extended the operating permit for both the much embattled Long Term Care center and Acute Care Center for another year.

On the face of it, this is a major win for the residents who refuse to leave and their supporters. Originally, everyone was to be cleared out by the end of October. Because of our efforts to keep the LTC open, they have not been able to meet this goal.

As we reflect on our efforts and savor this ‘win’, we need to reaffirm our goal to keep the LTC open.

By open, I don’t mean just providing basic care for the remaining residents. Our goal is to return the LTC to the state it was before the current regime got their mitts on it. By that I mean a world class, thriving and robust skilled nursing facility that was a model to other facilities that are today thriving in spite of the same challenges that seemingly have toppled the Motion Picture Home.

So, we are not done – not by a long shot!

We need your continued involvement, passion and spirit. We need your friends, your family, your co-workers – anybody who is either in the motion picture and television industry, support industries, or friends of the people in these industries.

We need you to publicize our efforts on your facebook page, and to provide a link to our petition. We need more signatures, thousands of them.

Let’s leverage this victory by keeping the LTC open and serving the needs of the industry. Let’s bring the entire campus back to a calm sanity where there is no fear of eviction if one of the elderly residents develops a debilitating disease or injury.

Let’s move onward and call for the termination of those that oppose keeping the mandate of “Taking Care of Our Own” in its original context.

Here is the link to the petition. Please enlist more of your friends to our cause.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/keepthemptfhomeopen

Thank you again for your participation. You are saving lives, you have saved lives.

Best,

Richard

November 3, 2009

Score one for the families

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 8:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

Thanks to the investigative journalism of Steven Mikulan of The Wrap (www.thewrap.com), we now have concrete proof that spokespeople for the MPTF have been lying to the press, to us, and to the motion picture industry.

Score one for the families.

We have always been told that there was a definite date – a deadline of sorts where everyone was to be transitioned out of the LTC. Ken Scherer, one of the funds hapless spokesmen, has insisted that no deadline existed.

The lies that frame the closing of the LTC are now beginning to reveal themselves. The veneer of fraud and deceit are being peeled away like the skin of an onion. Both Scherer and Seth Ellis have been caught with their pants down, as you can see by reading the linked article below.

Are you reading this Jeff Katzenberg? If these people were in your employ at Dreamworks, they’d be summarily fired.

Scherer and Ellis are typical of the problem that motion picture healthcare is facing. It’s not just about the LTC – it’s about entrusting the care of our needy, sick, elderly, infirm and handicapped to these men who play fast and loose with the truth in order to forward their own selfish agendas.

Wake up people who rely on motion picture health insurance – the future of your care are in these incapable hands.

I’ll be surprised if we hear another word from Ken Scherer, unless it’s “paper or plastic?”.

Please pass this on to your friends and fellow industry workers. We will all grow old one day, hopefully. The promise of ‘taking care of our own’ should apply to all who have toiled and sweated on behalf of the motion picture industry.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THIS: WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN OUR EFFORTS TO STOP THE CLOSING – SO FAR. YOUR PASSION AND DRIVE IN EXPRESSING YOUR OUTRAGE AND STANDING WITH THE FAMILIES IS WORKING. OUR JOB IS FAR FROM OVER, BUT WE CAN NOW SEE A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF US WHO ARE ACTIVELY SEEING THIS THROUGH, SIGNING PETITIONS, AND FACEBOOKING THE HELL OUT OF THIS ISSUE. THE RESIDENTS AND FAMILIES CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!

YOU ARE SAVING THE LTC, YOU ARE SAVING THE LIVES OF THE RESIDENTS, AND YOU ARE SAVING THE FUTURE PROMISE OF A CONTINUUM OF CARE FOR THE MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION INDUSTRY.

http://www.thewrap.com/ind-column/how-mptfs-eviction-deadline-shifted-9313

Please sign our petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/keepthemptfhomeopen

Best,

Richard

September 26, 2009

Motion Picture Hospital

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 2:33 pm
Tags: , ,

Richard Stellar September 26 at 10:26am Reply
I watched a movie last night that affected me deeply: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It’s a story told through a young boy’s eyes about the holocaust, and in particular a relationship between the boy and another his age that is separated by barbed wire. It shows the family dynamic as they boy’s father is commandant of a concentration camp who has not been on the up and up with his wife and children. Their discovery of what goes on at ‘the farm’ works to tear the family apart as the realization that the father, who in any other situation would be a great man, has turned away from sanity in order to serve the Third Reich.

We had an occurrence at the Motion Picture Home on Thursday of this week that should send a shiver down your spine. This is how bad it is getting.

Daniel Quinn, one of the leading voices of our campaign to stop the closure of the Long Term Care unit was apprehended by the police as he tried to gain entry to a resident’s meeting on his mother’s behalf. I’m talking the police – LAPD.

In a scene out of Schindler’s List – Daniel was separated from his mother by the social workers as he was led away by the LAPD to an anteroom and threatened with arrest.

You can imagine how his mother felt.

Roger Ebert had a great quote that was attributed to the movie Boy in the Striped Pajamas that is so appropriate for what is happening at the MPTF:

“Whenever loyalty to the enterprise becomes more important than simple morality, you will find evil functioning smoothly.”

Men of sanity and stature whose loyalty to the enterprise makes them turn their back on humanity. Familiar? You get the picture.

We are dealing with the Enron of healthcare centers. Like Enron, we hope to see the heirarchy that is ruining motion picture and television healthcare leave. At least I do. I speak for myself in all of these messages to you.

Keep up the fight. We’ve only begun. Please tell your friends about our facebook group and urge them to join us.

Best,

Richard

September 15, 2009

RSVP for STMPH Event

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 5:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

“Dear Friend – Please try to make this very important event.

Call me if you have any questions, need a ride, etc., etc.

Thanks,

Richard
213-369-1097”.

Event: Evening Before Eviction Rally
“To Protest the Closing of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Long Term Care Center”
What: Rally
Start Time: Friday, September 18 at 7:00pm
End Time: Friday, September 18 at 10:00pm
Where: Century Park

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=278145360202&mid=119c591G42327ab2Gd01d59G7

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