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Fate of 6 hospitals on agenda for Shriners

Mon., July 6, 2009, 8:19 a.m.

SAN ANTONIO — Stagnating donations, increasing costs, shriveling endowments and helping children will be on the minds of Shriners meeting in San Antonio as they consider the future of six hospitals around the nation.

The 135th Imperial Council Session began Sunday. On the agenda is consideration of a resolution to close the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston as well as hospitals in Shreveport, La., Spokane, Wash., Greenville, S.C., Erie, Pa. and Springfield, Mass. A decision is expected to be announced Thursday.

Free hospital care has been offered since the first Shriners hospital opened 87 years ago. Shriners say their endowment has fallen below $5 billion.

Bob Jett, the director general of the session, tells the San Antonio Express-News that the Shriners need to recognize and deal with the situation.

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