April 2, 2009 - "Erie Shriners Hospital for Children might close" The Erie Times News reported "This is not the first time the Shriners have looked at closing the Erie facility, which opened in 1927. A 2002 consultant's report to the national board of trustees recommended closing Erie's and several other hospitals as a way to cut costs. The board didn't pursue it. In 2005, delegates narrowly rejected a proposal to move Canada's only Shriners Hospital from Montreal to London, Ontario -- only two hours from Erie. Local Shriners had feared the move would have meant closing the Erie hospital. Erie Shriners officials also laid off the equivalent of 39 full-time employees in January 2008. A shortage of surgeons forced the hospital to reduce the number of surgeries it performs."
The UTMB application for a temporary restraining order and injunction states:
• For decades, UTMB has operated a state of the art burn and research and treatment unit on 32,000 square feet of lab and office space in the Shriners hospital that is located on the UTMB campus.
• In 1989, the University of Texas entered into a lease with Shriners pursuant to which Shriners leases property within the UTMB campus.
• Currently, there are approximately sixty-four (64) doctors and scientists who are conducting research at the Burn Research Unit and laboratories.
• The parties recognized and agreed that the burn research unit and labs could not be easily moved or relocated, and that the Affiliation Agreement requires five (5) years notice of termination.
• If serious, unresolvable problems develop between the parties, either party shall have the right to terminate this Agreement upon not less than five (5) year's notice in writing to the other party.
• It is not clear that the decision to close Shriners in Galveston was properly made or authorized.
• As if closing Shriners was not bad enough, on March 12, 2009, Defendants told UTMB that it had exactly 19 days to remove its entire lab and burn research unit operations.
• On 2/25/09 Exec VP of Shriners Keith Gardner wrote a letter to UTMB and stated that Shriners were continuing to assess the remaining repairs to be completed at the hospital site in Galveston.
• Properly moving the entire UTMB operation out of the Shriner facility would cost between $500,000 and $750,000 and could take 8 to 10 weeks.
• Environmental clearances must be obtained to safely construct new facilities in a temporary space.
• Construction of new space is necessary to avoid the loss of research materials that require sensitive storage.
• Freezers and hoods that are critical to the burn institute must be carefully moved, and the new facility must have the appropriate electrical distributions and modifications.
• Recalibrating equipment and certifying hoods from the lab at Shriners in the new spaçe is yet another substantial task.
• There is no space on Galveston island to house the bum research unit as 15,000 square feet of space available on the UTMB campus However, the Burn Research Unit and Laboratories currently occupy 32,000 square feet.