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Texas Shriners Hospital to close after hurricane damage, $3 Billion loss in endowment

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KWTX 10 TV - Waco, Texas

Texas Shriners Hospital Will Close

January 23, 2009

GALVESTON The Hurricane Ike-damaged Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston will close its doors.

Employees got the news during a staff meeting Thursday.

Hospital administrator John Swartwout Jr. said the Shriners board decided Jan. 16 to suspend hospital operations as an emergency measure to shore up its finances.

The Sept. 13 storm did significant damage to the hospital, which is known for its burn unit.

The hospital has 320 employees who will be paid until March 29.

They will also receive career transition assistance.

Employees were instructed Thursday to go home and not return until a meeting at1 p.m. Monday with Shriners International President and CEO Ralph Semb.

Repairs on the hospital were halted this week because of the cost.

Semb told The Associated Press this week that the hospital had significant damage and said the group can't afford to repair it.

Semb said the organization has lost more than $3 billion from its endowment fund as a result of the economic downturn.

Further Reading:

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns