Shriners to keep hospitals open, accept insurance - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shriners to keep hospitals open, accept insurance

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas. - The Shriners say they will keep a presence in all 22 cities where they provide care for children, but some of the facilities may be downgraded to outpatient surgical centers.

Shriners Hospitals for Children also will begin accepting insurance.

The changes were announced Thursday at the close of the annual meeting of the Shriners International hospital governing body.

Traditionally, the fraternal group has provided care free of charge and without billing insurance companies, but the new hospital CEO, Douglas Maxwell, says the nonprofit needs to change the way it does business.

The rising cost of medicine and a shrinking endowment forced the Shriners this week to look at revamping its hospital system to remain solvent.

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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