HomeSocial ServicesAffordable Health Care

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a hospital that treats children with conditions such as burns, cleft palate, and spinal cord injuries. It was founded by Shriners International, a fraternal order founded in 1872 as a spin-off from Freemasonry. Their first location opened in 1922. As of 2018 they have 22 locations between the United States and Canada, each having facilities for a subset of the conditions the Shriners network specializes in treating. Until 2011, the hospital had a policy of paying for care through their endowment and never charging families for treatment. After that point, however, for reasons outlined below, it is unclear whether they remained a notable example of affordable provision of medicine without government assistance.

In 2009, because of the economic downturn, Shriners Hospitals for Children lost a lot of the value in their endowment, and even considered shutting down six of their hospitals. They ultimately voted against it. Their Galveston, TX location also temporarily shut down that same year due to hurricane Ike. To adapt to these new difficulties, in addition to rising healthcare costs, they began a policy in 2011 of accepting insurance but still giving financial assistance to any families in need. From this point, judging from their financial statements, the degree to which they cover expenses for needy families was comparable to the amount of money they received from the government. For instance, in their 2017 financial report, "Provision for Shriners assist" is listed as about $53 million, and "Other government revenue" is listed as about $34 million. Additionally, when Shriners Hospital started accepting insurance, it also began to accept government assistance such as Medicaid, though it's not clear whether this is considered part of the listed $34 million.

In their 2006 financial report, by contrast, there was no mention of government revenue. However it should be noted that their endowment includes some government securities.



Other Sources