Shriners hospitals are an outreach of the Shriners and Masons, providing free medical care to thousands of poor kids unable to afford medical care every year. The hospitals are supported by an endowment that’s invested in stocks, bonds, and other securities, and usually pays enough money to support the hospitals.
Fate of 6 Shriners hospitals in the balance
By Sig Christenson – Express-News
The future of Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston and five other medical facilities around the nation hung in the balance Sunday as the international organization opened its 135th Imperial Council Session in San Antonio.
Rocked by the recession, Shriners gathered in San Antonio will consider a resolution that would close hospitals in Shreveport, La., Spokane, Wash., Greenville, S.C., Erie, Pa., Springfield, Mass., and Galveston. The recession and Hurricane Ike ravaged the Galveston hospital, but its fate and that of others isn’t clear.
Shriners will vote this week in a meeting that will be closed to the public, media and even some members. Their decision will be revealed in a press conference Thursday.
“We’ve never had an economy turn this severely this quickly, and it’s affected us just like it’s affected everybody else,” said Bob Jett, who helped plan this year’s conference. “It’s hit us all very deeply. It’s unprecedented.”
Shiners Hospitals for Children has grown from one hospital 87 years ago to 22 in 2008. An $8 billion endowment had funded those hospitals, which provide free care for children with burns, orthopedic problems, cleft and lip palate deformities and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
Shriners say their endowment has fallen to $5 billion. The Associated Press reported in April that the Tampa, Fla., group was pumping $1 million a day from the endowment into the system.
The CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children, Ralph Semb, told the AP last spring that the group would “probably be out of the hospital business” in five to seven years if no action were taken. Semb didn’t talk with the San Antonio Express-News, but Jett, the director general of the session, gave little hint of what could come next.
Somehow the Shriner’s lost Three – Billion – Dollars in the stock market last year. There’s no evidence to support this, but I keep thinking of Bernie Madoff and his ilk for some reason.
And the Shriner’s Hospitals are the antithesis of Obama Healthcare. The Masons and Shriners pay for this care, out of the charity of their own pockets, because they can afford to do so. In this way they can provide the finest care to those unable to afford it.
Under Obamacare we would all be forced to pay for a one-size-fits-all, lowest common denominator healthcare. I have yet to have anyone explain to me how Obamacare would in any way be better, if not comparable, to the government’s previous attempts at healthcare .
The Veterans Administration.
You get the idea.