MPTF’s Acute Care Deal With Providence Health & Services Falls Through

EXCLUSIVE: More bad news at the Motion Picture And Television Fund. Family members are furious that the man they blame for playing the central role in trying to close the Wasserman Campus healthcare facilities for acute care, Dr. David Tillman, is coming back through the back door. Tillman was ousted as President and CEO of the MPTF’s Motion Picture Hospital in February 2010. But now he has been hired by the Partners In Care Foundation as their First Chief Medical Officer. And just who is Chairman of the Board of Partners In Care? Why Seth Ellis, the MPTF’s VP and COO who was Tillman’s longtime second in command. It’s a textbook case of cronyism: Tillman and Ellis arrived together at the MPTF in 2000, and both made bitter enemies of family members who fought the MPTF’s attempt to close the acute care hospital and nursing facilities. At one point MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann named Tillman the ”World’s Worst” person because of the impending closures. It’s widely felt that when the MPTF Board subcommittee exited Tillman, it was a first step to try to bring the MPTF back together with the Hollywood community, and especially family members who’ve been most vocal on this acute care issue. Now this is viewed as a giant step backwards, especially because it spotlights the controversial dual role which Ellis plays by having big jobs with both Partners in Care and the MPTF.

Richard Stellar, an outspoken activist for the motion picture industry’s elder rights and the son of a former resident of the Motion Picture Home, tells me this about Tillman’s return: “In my opinion this is a blatant conflict of interest that once again interfaces Dr. Tillman with MPTF senior management. Has he ever really gone away, or were we just led to believe that he had?”

In the Partners In Care press release announcing Tillman’s hire, Seth Ellis, the COO of the Motion Picture Home, heaps praise on Tillman. That’s like adding fuel to the fire that erupted over Tillman’s MPTF tenure which has taken more than a year to begin to extinguish:

“Having Dr. Tillman join us at this point in our evolution, signals the dynamic growth and expansion opportunities Partners is experiencing. Partners is poised to bring even greater expertise to the field, broaden our impact, and shape the future of health care.”

Both Tillman and Ellis were the architects of the attempt to dismantle long term acute healthcare at the MPTF campus. According to savingthelivesofourown.org, “Tillman’s goal, working quietly under the surface with Seth Ellis, for nearly a decade, was to close the Wasserman Campus healthcare facilities, making home based community care the focus of MPTF healthcare services.” Tillman who earned $600,000 a year at the MPTF was pushed to exit because of the public relations nightmare that ensued over the attempt to shutter the acute care hospital and long-term elderly care facilities. In his new job, Tillman is to provide oversight for patients transitioning from hospitals to community care services. Immediately, it calls into question whether Ellis will have Tillman and Partners In Care help MPTF transition out its acute care facilities.

Now the question is whether the bigwig Hollywood members of the MPTF Board knew about and approved of Ellis’ hiring of Tillman.

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