The Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana is reporting that the Shriners Hospital there may close. It is one of a total of six that the Shriners trustees have identified for possible closure this year.
The 89 year old Shreveport hospital was the first Shriners children's center opened, in response to a polio epidemic that swept across the US in the early 1920s.
The article quoted national trustees chairman Ralph Semb as saying the board faces a major income shortfall this year, due partially to a drop in donations, but largely because of the plummeting stock market. The trustees were directed three years ago to try to increase the $8.5 billion hospital endowment to $14 billion. When the stock market fell, however, the investments plunged to less than $5 billion by this month.
Along with Shreveport, the other hospitals potentially on the chopping block are Galveston, TX; Greenville, SC; Spokane, WA.; Erie, PA.; and Springfield, MA.
The closings will have to be approved by a 2/3 majority vote at the Imperial Session in San Antonio, July 5-9.
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