The Shriners Children's Hospitals, which have provided free medical care to children, may be closing many of their facilities. The endowment supporting these facilities have fallen in value from $8 billion to 5 billion, with income also down sharply. Supporting current operations is reportedly drawing down the endowment further at a pace of $1 million a day, according to AP.
One of the facilities on the chopping block is the Shriners Hospital in Shreveport, LA. The Shreveport Times reports:
The 89-year-old children's health center in the 3100 block of Samford Avenue is among six that could shut because of budget woes at the national level. An endowment that supports the network of 22 Shriners hospitals has lost value, a casualty of the declining stock market. The hospitals offer free care to children and teens.
The Shreveport center focuses on pediatric orthopedics, including amputations, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and hand deformities. Other locations specialize in burn injuries and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
Since opening in 1922, the Shreveport hospital has provided treatment to more than 55,000 children from around the world.
Doctors perform more than 600 surgeries, and the hospital logs about 10,000 outpatient clinic visits each year, said Christian Berg, the local Shriners Hospital spokesman.
The Obama administration proposal to reduce the tax deductibility of charitable donations makes the future dim for these, and many other worthy charitable endeavors, whose funding basis has been devastated.