Providence agrees to take over motion picture hospital and nursing home

Hollywood’s embattled nursing home may get a second act.

The Motion Picture and Television Fund said Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with hospital chain Providence Health & Services that would allow the fund to keep open the hospital and nursing home in Woodland Hills.

Under the proposed agreement, which was first reported in the Los Angeles Times in December, Providence would sign a long-term lease agreement with the fund to manage the hospital and nursing home and assume financial responsibility for its operations. State licenses for the hospital would be transferred to nearby Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

Renton, Wash.-based Providence is a nonprofit health services provider that operates hospitals, including St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, and healthcare clinics and nursing homes, mainly on the West Coast.


In addition, UCLA Health System will operate a new neurological rehabilitation unit at the facility, the Motion Picture and Television Fund said in a statement. The final agreement is still subject to approval by the fund’s board, as well as by state regulators.

“Over the last year, I have been working closely with my fellow board members and management to find a positive resolution to our long-term-care and acute-care issue,” said Bob Beitcher, the fund’s chief executive.

Beitcher said Providence was an ideal partner because it has three hospitals in the San Fernando Valley and has extensive experience in managing nursing homes.

“We are privileged to serve those in the entertainment industry, and we look forward to providing quality, safe and compassionate care,” said Michael Hunn, chief executive of Providence California.

The motion picture home would guarantee placements for the 37 residents remaining in the nursing home and invite back those who relocated to other facilities. Although Providence would be required to reserve about a third of the approximately 200 beds for residents on the Wasserman campus, it would also be open to people outside the entertainment industry, a break from the charity’s long-standing practice.

A meeting with nursing home residents to discuss the agreement was scheduled Wednesday night.

“We’re very excited that [the Motion Picture and Television Fund] is focused on keeping long-term care open and ensuring its future,” said Nancy Biederman, co-founder of Saving the Lives of Our Own, which has fought the nursing home’s closure. “We look forward to learning the details.”

The fund’s board had announced in January 2009 that it intended to close the facilities, saying they were losing millions each year.


Residents and supporters pushed back, saying that comparable nursing homes were not available elsewhere and that the fund was abandoning its charter to care for entertainment industry workers. They hired an attorney to block eviction and mounted a campaign to keep the motion picture home afloat.