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01-23-09, 10:53 AM #1
Nation's best children's burn center closing indefinitelyGALVESTON — Shriners Hospital for Children-Galveston will suspend operations to cope with a $3 billion shortfall in the Shriners International endowment fund, the organization’s president said Tuesday.
Shriners is also suspending reconstruction of hospitals in Los Angeles and St. Louis, Mo., said Ralph Semb, president and chief executive officer of Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Semb said the 30-bed hospital in Galveston would not be closed permanently, but that operations would be suspended and an undetermined number of its about 200 employees laid off until financial conditions improved.
“You get to a point where you just can’t afford to bleed anymore,” Semb said. “We don’t want to close anything, but we have to be fiduciarily responsible for the future of this organization.”
The economic downturn and plunge in the stock market dramatically slashed the interest payments from the endowment that supports the 22 Shriners hospitals, he said. The market decline has shrunk the fund to about $5 billion, which is not providing the $850 million needed annually to support the hospitals, Semb said. All Galveston hospital employees will be paid through March 31, he said. “Shriners hospitals is facing the most tumultuous and trying environment in its history,” Semb said.
In 2008, the Galveston hospital had a $33 million operating budget, according to information provided by the hospital. The hospital, which specializes in treating burned children, has been closed since Hurricane Ike struck Galveston Island Sept. 13. Semb said the storm flooded the hospital with 30 inches of water. Shriners have invested $4 million in repairs and have budgeted another $1 million. The hospital lacks needed building permits and must eradicate a mold infestation, he said. The hospital opened in 1966 and has treated children from 43 states and 49 countries.
The hospital treats about 250 acutely burned children each year and keeps treating them until they are 18. In 2007, the hospital admitted 1,575 patients, including 548 acute burn cases, according to hospital statistics.
Semb said the hospital will continue to follow up on the children initially treated for burns in Galveston, flying them to other Shriners hospitals if need be.
Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas announced the suspension of hospital operations during the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s board meeting Tuesday, saying she wanted the council to be aware of the anticipated further strain on the Harris County Hospital District.
Harris County has absorbed an influx of Galveston County patients since the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston drastically reduced its operations, closing its nationally recognized trauma center, slashing the number of beds to 200 and laying off 3,000 of its 12,000 workforce.
UTMB suffered an estimated $710 million in losses from Hurricane Ike.
Thomas, in an interview, said Shriners had the only burn center for children in Texas and that its loss would be a terrible blow to the state and the Houston-Galveston region.
“It’s a tragic loss to the medical profession and to the citizens who need burn care,” Thomas said. The suspension of operations is another blow to the Galveston economy, she said, leaving even more residents without jobs. “More than that, people from all over the world who have come to Galveston for years will no longer come and we will miss that population,” she said."The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of its blessings; the inherent vice of Socialism is the equal sharing of its miseries." -Winston Churchill
01-23-09, 01:33 PM #2
Your absolutely right it does suck!
My dad, I miss him every day.
Originally Posted by Wolven
Life is too short to wear unsexy underwear.
I am a female!!!!! LMAO
Be who you are and say what you feel.....
Because those that matter...don't mind...
And those that mind...don't matter
01-23-09, 02:32 PM #3Chief Wheaties PisserVerified LEO
- Join Date
- Just outside Latteland
- Rep Power
We can spend billions to assist a nation in building their infrastructure yet we can't take care of our own, even on a voluntary scale.
Something seems imbalanced here.
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