Shriners may shutter six hospitals

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

John Barry of the St. Petersburg Times reports that declining membership and a weak economy are conspiring to force cutbacks at Shriners Hospitals for Children, which offer free pediatric care in 22 cities.

Photo by Jamie Dwyr via Flickr

Under one proposal, six underutilized hospitals would be closed outright (see CNN’s map here). Shriners also are considering heavy cutbacks across the board, unsustainable withdrawals from the hospitals’ endowment fund, or allowing member hospitals – none of which even have billing offices now – to accept funds from Medicaid and insurance.

The hospitals’ future will be decided at the Shriners’ Imperial Council Session, July 6-8, when about 1,400 Shiners  are expected to gather in San Antonio, Texas.

(Hat tip to Al Tompkins at Poynter Institute)

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