The Shriners Hospital for Children, an institution for 50 years in Cincinnati, expects to move its operations to Dayton, Ohio by the summer of 2020 and sell its 30-bed Burnet Avenue building.
The decision reflects a drop in the number of children who suffer burns thanks to fire-resistant clothing and shifts in who pays for medical care.
Shriners Hospital will end 50-year legacy in Cincinnati by moving to Dayton in summer 2020
The hospital, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, announced Wednesday that officials are in talks to move its services and name to a building on the campus of Dayton Childrens Hospital within 16 months.
Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati moving to Dayton
After the move, the Burnet Avenue facility would be sold, said spokeswoman Mashayla Colwell. The building sits on the crest of Pill Hill in Corryville, between Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati.
On June 16, the hospital marked its golden anniversary with a grand patient reunion. About 30,000 patients have been treated at Shiners Cincinnati.
The downsizing has been long under discussion within the hospitals parent organization, the mens fellowship Shriners International. The hospital system is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and operates under the slogan, Love to the Rescue.
Kilee Brookbank of Georgetown, Ohio, wrote a book, Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined,” about her 2014 burn and treatment at the Cincinnati hospital. She has raised nearly $300,000 for the hospital. She said Wednesday she is sad about the move.
We are proud to have been able to invest our time and effort into the hospital over the past five years, and we are grateful that Shriners was so close to home when I needed the care,” she said. “The important thing is that Shriners will still be operating its burn center from Dayton Childrens Hospital. Without Shriners relocating to Dayton, there would have been no hospital in the Midwest that specialized in burn care.
In 2016, The Enquirer featured the care at the hospital in a story about a young woman from India who came to Cincinnati to be treated for acid burns she received as a child.
Fewer than 200 doctors, nurses and other caregivers work at the Cincinnati hospital. Mel Bower, chief marketing officer for Shriners International, said the new facility probably will not need that many workers, but, “We certainly would like that as many of our employees as possible are able to join us.
Bower said it was premature to say whether anyone has expressed interest in buying the Burnet Avenue property.
Mark Shugarman, the administrator of the Cincinnati facility, said in the statement Wednesday, These changes are necessary to ensure that our hospital can continue to provide the finest pediatric specialty care for the next 50 years. Current health care trends require us to adjust our delivery model to more accurately reflect todays environment.
Colwell said that when the burn facility moves to Dayton, Shriners would continue its tradition of providing transportation for patients.
The change is a testament to half a century of improvement in burn care in the United States. Thanks to fire-prevention education, smoke alarms and fire-resistant clothing, fewer children suffer burns in fires, and the burns are less severe, requiring fewer and shorter hospital stays. The 15-bed second floor of the Cincinnati hospital has often been empty.
Cincinnati Shriners Hospital opened in 1968 as the Shriners Burns Institute, a part of Cincinnati General Hospital, now the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. When the hospital moved into the Burnet Avenue building in 1992, care expanded to include treatment of cleft lip and palate, skin and wound conditions and spinal cord injuries.
The hospitals interior is painted in cheerful colors to look like a kiddie-sized small-town main street. An atrium in the middle fills the building with light.
In Wednesdays statement, Shriners officials said they are negotiating with the Dayton pediatric hospital to lease space to be a distinct hospital within a hospital.”
Trends in health care have shifted toward more outpatient care, Shugarman said. Today, approximately 85 percent of pediatric medical procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, including burn care. The new location will allow Shriners Hospitals for Children to maintain its Southwest Ohio presence with a surgical facility designed to meet and exceed todays medical standards for its exceptional care.
In the past decade, the Shriners Hospital network has struggled as changes came in the financing of medicine, and fewer patients needed extended care. In 2009, the Shriners Hospital system nearly shut down, and some facilities were shifted to outpatient care.
The hospital has always treated patients regardless of a familys ability to pay, drawing from more than 26 states across the United States as well as other nations. The hospital system is the Shriners primary philanthropy, raising enough money to provide care for free. In recent years, Shriners Hospitals have started to accept private insurance for some patients to cover costs.
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