I just happened to open CNN this morning and the story of the Shrine Hospitals is front page news. For any Mason following the media, it isn’t the story on the Jesters, or in membership, its the very real and distressing story of the potential closure of 6 of its 22 hospitals, following the loss of $3.3 million dollars in the stock market crash.
Obviously, this will affect a large number of people in a very negative way, and no one wants to see it come to pass.
The challenge that they face, however is such that potential options include letting Shriner’s hospitals themselves accept insurance or Medicaid from those families who have it covering the co-pays and deductibles or having Shrine doctors perform major surgery at partnered hospitals, and allowing insurance to bill what it can, then cover the rest.
The challenge is losing oversight in the work performed and having to follow Federal oversight curtailing the ability to treat as they see best.
Since its earliest inception, the Shrine is still a significant contributor to the hospitals which also accepts outside contributions and donations. Today, the Shrine arranges and pays for the transportation of children and parents to the hospitals and donate time driving families to the hospitals and entertaining the patients.
Additionally, Shriner’s helps support the hospitals financially by paying an annual $5 hospital assessment assessed in their dues. Various temples and clubs also hold fundraisers to contribute to the hospitals.
Originally founded in 1922, it has, in the past 20 years, had more than 8,000 physicians who have received residency education or postgraduate fellowship in their facilities. The Shrine is a adjunct unit of Freemasonry, pulling its membership from the roles of the Craft Lodges.
Given the present situation, and the continued decline in membership, It leaves me wondering if this will be the straw to break the camels back in the separation between the two fully developed organizations and allow the Shrine to further its aims.
You can read the full story “Possible closure of six free Shriners hospitals scares parents” at CNN.