Shriners council votes to bill insurance - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shriners council votes to bill insurance

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    SAN ANTONIO, Texas. - The Shriners' 135th Imperial Council Session began Sunday and Monday the council took a vote to look at ways to keep the hospitals, including Spokane's, open. >>
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas. - The Shriners' 135th Imperial Council Session continued meetings in Texas Tuesday focusing on the future of six hospitals around the nation amid a massive budget deficit.

Tuesday, the council decided to move forward with one of 30 resolutions being discussed that would allow for billing insurance companies.

Those families who have insurance will be billed and those who cannot afford to pay or those families without insurance will continue to be covered by the hospital.

Tuesday's decision comes 24 hours after delegates at the convention voted to keep all the Shriners' 22 hospitals open. To keep the Spokane Shriners open would mean changes in hospital operations including sharing services with Sacred Heart Children's Hospital as a way of cutting costs.

No decision on the future of the hospitals is final until the convention ends Thursday.

The list of hospitals was drawn up as a way to recover from a budget deficit the 22 Shriners Hospitals nationwide are currently facing.

The Spokane Shriners Hospital employs 172 people and operates on an annual budget of $13.5 million. In 2008 the hospital received $11 million dollars in donations. The hospital sees between 8,500 and 9,000 patients annually and performs an estimated 650 surgeries a year.

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