Shriners Hospitals for Children, Tampa, Fla., has proposed closing six hospitals to balance the 22-hospital systems budget after the weak economy wiped out $3 billion from its endowment, the systems president and CEO said. The proposal is one of four measures up for consideration by Shriners trustees to address an expected shortfall in 2010, said Shriners Hospitals Chief Executive Ralph Semb. Other options include: trim operations at all 22 hospitals by 20% to 30%; accept insurance payments; or close six hospitals and cut remaing hospital budgets by 6% to 9%, he said.
Semb said Shriners hospitals have already been asked to cut $200 million from operations this year because of rising healthcare costs and the endowments plunge to $5 billion from more than $8 billion. Trustees will consider the closures in July, he said. Shriners hospitals in Erie, Pa.; Galveston, Texas; Greenville, S.C.; Shreveport, La.; Spokane, Wash.; and Springfield, Mass. may be closed. Repairs and renovation to the Galveston hospital following last September's Hurricane Ike were halted in January because of budget constraints.