Thriving Industry Partnerships

April 12, 2012
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One of the important lessons MPTF has learned in the past few years is that “taking care of our own” doesn’t necessarily mean “do it all yourself” all the time. Building a strong ecosystem of individuals and organizations in the community that can support and further our goals – for MPTF and for most other organizations these days – is truly the key to success. A case in point for MPTF is the unbelievable partnering we’ve gotten from many of the studios around town in connection with our Health Wheels
program. Starting with the true pioneers with Health Wheels – Twentieth Century FOX, CBS-Radford and The Culver Studios – and then more recently with NBCUniversal, Raleigh Studios-Hollywood, and now Warner Bros. and Paramount, we have been embraced by industry leaders not only with real vision, but also with an understanding of some of the critical issues their employees face in receiving high quality and timely health care. Together, we’ve made a terrific start in changing the model for health care delivery, bringing it to where our industry members work rather than demanding that they find the time to travel to our MPTF health centers.

The ties that bind this special ecosystem are the passion for the entertainment industry and its workers and the sense of opportunity for increasing presenteeism, decreasing absenteeism, boosting morale, and improving health conditions. FOX, CBS-Radford, and The Culver Studios jumped in first, convinced that we had a role to play on their lots in helping out industry workers who had the good fortune to be working so many hours that they couldn’t fit health care into their personal schedules. NBCUniversal and Raleigh Studios-Hollywood were up next, and we’ll be starting at Paramount and Warner Bros. in the coming days. In each and every case, we have thrived thanks to the support of various departments whose collaboration has made us feel welcome and allowed us to be productive. Whether it’s the HR department communicating with lot and production employees to make them aware of MPTF’s Health Wheels or the Facilities department finding us key locations, power sources, wireless connectivity, and anything else we need to sustain a strong presence, they have been there for us.

Through the end of March 2012, we have seen almost 700 industry members in our Health Wheels van, and the numbers only pick up every week we visit one of these locations. At this point, we are busy, busy, busy.

A tip of the Health Wheels hat as well to Dr. Janice Spinner, MPTF’s Medical Director (and, by the way, a primary care physician at MPTF’s Jack Skirball Health Center in Woodland Hills and an absolutely outstanding diagnostician). When we sat down for lunch not long after I joined MPTF on an interim basis, I asked Dr. Spinner a simple question: “What are you and the other doctors hearing from your patients as their biggest concerns?” By the time we had finished lunch – no dessert for the two of us! – two fresh ideas were being incubated: a low-cost clinic for uninsured or under-insured industry members and a mobile health van to bring medical care to where our industry members work and live.

Besides Dr. Spinner, who I’ve already mentioned, I need to pull in two more heroes for this project — Lorrane Bonanno, who led the team operationalizing Health Wheels, and Karen Vock, who as project manager guided us through any and all barriers and put us onto seven studio lots. And let’s not forget that the Heartbeat of Hollywood Golf Tournament committee listened to our case for the health van and without any hesitation agreed to provide the contribution necessary to purchase it. One more shout-out is in order: Dr. Dennis Green, who has provided the high quality health care on the van that instigates great word-of-mouth from grateful patients who tell their friends and colleagues and get us more happy clients.

I’ve said this before in my blogs, but I’ll say it again. “Taking care of our own” can and does have many different meanings for MPTF. In this case, I think Health Wheels is doing an extraordinary job of fulfilling the mission set about by Mary Pickford and our other founders over 90 years ago: “we see a need and we fill it.”

About Bob Beitcher


Bob Beitcher is the President and CEO of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. He has been a senior executive in the entertainment industry for 30 years, having held leadership roles at Jim Henson Productions, Paramount Pictures, Panavision and MacAndrews & Forbes Media Group. Bob has been an MPTF board member since 2007. He became interim CEO in 2010 and was named permanent CEO in 2011.

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2 Responses to Thriving Industry Partnerships

  1. SarahIsHappy on April 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Did you tell Dr. Spinner that there is “Bridge Program” at MPTF for the uninsured?  To the best of my knowledge it is a $20 or $25  charge to see a doctor at the MPTF Clinic.  I am told that each doctor is required to see one bridge patient per day.

    • Bob Beitcher on April 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Dear SarahIsHappy,

      No need for me to tell Dr. Spinner.  She is one of the driving forces in creating the very successful Bridge to Health program at MPTF.  Your description of it is accurate –a low-cost ($25) urgent care exam for those industry members who are either uninsured or underinsured.  We are very proud to be able to offer this exceptional opportunity to our industry, a great nexus of the MPTF health care and charitable assistance programs. 

      Thank you for mentioning it!

      Bob Beitcher
      MPTF CEO

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