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Shriners To Close Galveston Hospital, Sued by UTMB

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January 22, 2009 - "Shriners isle hospital to close indefinitely" KHOU reports a nurse at the hospital said she took the announcement to mean she ought to look for a new job. The closure came as a surprise to the 325 employees who had been assured by hospital officials for more than four months that their jobs were secure. "Many employees streaming out of the meeting Thursday morning declined to comment or provide their names. They said they were told if they spoke to the media they would be immediately fired and would not receive further paychecks. Employees are to be paid through March 31. Hospital employee Robert Gaona removed The Daily News from the meeting because he said it was a private affair for employees only. Later, security guard Karl Piazza removed reporters from the hospital's sidewalk and then called the police."

January 22, 2009 - "Save Shriners Burns Hospital for Children, Galveston Texas" goes on-line.

January 25, 2009 - KBTX reports that Ralph Semb meets with Galveston SHC staff to announce "indefinite suspension." "Reconstruction at the Galveston hospital was halted this week because of the cost. Semb told The Associated Press this week that the hospital had significant damage. He says the group can't afford to repair it."

March 2, 2009 - Last update to Shriners MySpace shows all interest in celebrities and high profile events like East West Shrine Game, Justin Timberlake Shriner Golf Tournament , Justin Timberlake/John Elway Shriner ad, NASCAR driver David Ragan Shriner endorsement but never mentions dire financial situation or sounds the call to raise money to save Galveston or prevent widespread hospital closures.

March 19, 2009 - Announcement that Shriners Hospital Cornerstone Laying Cornerstone-laying ceremonies will be performed at the Shriners Hospital on Punahou Street. The ceremony will be held on March 19, 2009 starting at 3:00PM. The Grand Lodge of Hawaii will perform the ceremony led by MW Dennis Ing and with all the leaders of Masonry present. Imperial Shrine Potentate Doug Maxwell as well as Ill. Pete Larson of Aloha Temple and his divan will attend.

March 13, 2009 - Galveston Daily News reports: "UTMB Galveston's Blocker Burn Unit might be operating" said nursing supervisor. "We are back open," she said. "We can take anyone age 13 and up from zero to 99 percent (burned). UTMB Galveston cannot handle major pediatric burns for those younger than 13 since the Shriner Galveston hospital closed, Shriner Cincinnati is the best place for the youngest patients."

March 24, 2009 - Shriners' joint hospital and executive board voted down a motion to reopen the burns hospital in Galveston.

March 25, 2009 - Galveston County Daily News reports that hospital battle goes public as one Shriner promises to take this up with the 1163 delegates at their upcoming annual convention.

March 26, 2009 - "Shriners vow fight to keep Galveston hospital open" Houston Chronicle reports that "Local Shriners vowed Wednesday to take their case for reopening the storm-damaged Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston to convention delegates after the national leadership again decided to keep it closed. National board members could not be reached for comment."

March 28, 2009 - Ralph Semb sends out this email to Shriner representatives, claiming Shriners have "no money."

Editor's Note: For those Shriners interested in discovering what the 2008 Florida Statutes have to say about corporate records, go here. Shriners interested in what the 2008 Florida Statues have to say about "Inspection of Records by Members," will discover that a member of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy any of the records of the corporation such as the minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting, a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation and accounting records.

March 29, 2009 - Springfield's Shriners Hospital In Danger Of Closing (video) News story reports Shriners Hospitals for Children has been losing a million dollars a day since 2001. "If we leave it the way it is then we will have to close 22 hospitals and that's not what we want to do," says Semb. If the decision is to close Springfield's hospital, it would affect more than 1,300 children with orthopedic problems annually.

On March 30, 2009 - The UTMB filed an application for a restraining order against the Shriners. A copy can be read here. The UTMB video announcement can be seen here.

March 30, 2009 - "Western Mass. supporters rallying around Shriners Hospital in Springfield" is reporting "SPRINGFIELD - Supporters of the Shriners Hospital for Children are vowing to rally around the Carew Street hospital and redouble fund-raising efforts amid news the facility is eyed for possible closure. A spokesman for the Shiners International Headquarters in Tampa, Fla., could not be reached for comment."

March 30, 2009 - "Shriners Hospital in Spokane may close" The Spokesman Review is reporting "Parents, former patients and the medical community reeled from Monday's news that the Shriners may close its children's hospital in Spokane. The hospital is regarded by many as a city jewel – a group of specialists who have healed and helped children for 85 years…Telephone messages left at Shriners headquarters in Tampa, Fla., were not returned."

April 1, 2009 - Greenville SC Shriners Hospital may have to close doors" reports that "The Greenville hospital has been a part of the community for more than 80 years, treated about 15,000 patients last year and employs 249 people… The hospital, which treats children with cerebral palsy, club foot, spinal abnormalities and other orthopedic conditions, made the list because it is underutilized, (Ralph) Semb said. However, Rodney Brown, chairman of the board of governors for the Greenville Shriners Hospital, said it is seeing more patients every year and always operates under its $18 million budget. "There is no logical reason to close our hospital," he said. "We're seeing 1,600 patients a month in the outpatient setting and do 70 to 80 surgeries a month."

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Investigative reporter, author and researcher into that which would rather remain hidden. U.S. Navy Electronics Tech vet, original shareholder of Ahtna, Inc, an Alaska Native corporation, Board of directors, Western Washington Pro Chapter of the (more...)
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