All Shriners Facilities to Remain Open

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Shriners say they will keep a presence in all 22 cities where they now provide care for children, but some of the facilities may be downgraded to outpatient surgical centers.

The Shriners had considered closing facilities in Galveston, Shreveport and four other cities, eliminating a total of 225 beds.

The Galveston hospital closed after Hurricane Ike last September. Final renovations and inspections are necessary before it can reopen. But new Shriners Hospitals for Children CEO Douglas Maxwell says it may be possible to open in as little as month if the hospital has the staff it needs.

Shriners Hospitals for Children will also begin accepting insurance for patients who have it.

Traditionally, the Shriners have provided care free of charge and without billing insurance companies, but Maxwell says the nonprofit needs to change the way it does business.

The rising cost of medicine and its shrinking endowment forced the Shriners this week to look at revamping its 22-hospital system to remain solvent.

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