A fading Hollywood star: the Motion Picture and Television Fund nursing home

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Stars have a lot of power—off-screen, as well as on-screen. Because of their celebrity status, they can draw national attention to civic causes that regular folks slave to gain recognition for every day.

Such may be the case with the closing of the Motion Picture and Television Fund County House and Hospital.

In January, the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation said it could no longer afford to operate the hospital and nursing home because of rising costs and declining reimbursements. As a result, some 100 residents are being forced to relocate to nursing homes.

The story has drawn lots of press, in part because of the glitter surrounding the institution, which is located in the Woodland Hills area of Los Angeles. Legends Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and other luminaries founded the fund in the 1920s to provide a comfortable retirement for those in the film industry. Since it opened in 1948, the facility has housed such legends as Stanley Kramer, producer of “High Noon,” and DeForest Kelley, who played the doctor Bones McCoy in “Star Trek.”

It is sad we can’t keep an institution to take care of our cinematic heroes. The passing shows that Hollywood may not have the deep pockets that it used to. (The facility reportedly costs the fund about $10 million a year.)

In a way, though, the tale can help (sorry to be callous) the cause of the long-term care industry. Facilities around the country are threatened because of reimbursement challenges. If our celebrities no longer can depend on their local nursing home, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Also, as a sign of the times, the charity said that it will invest funding in keeping stars in their homes and not at the Motion Picture and Television Fund. How’s that for a plug for home- and community-based services?

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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