AP NEWS

Children’s hospital in Houston combining with Galveston

January 10, 2020 GMT
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This Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo shows The Shriners Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The hospital is planning to close in 2021 and consolidate its area care at the charity system’s Galveston facility. The closure will end Shriners’ 100-year presence in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
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This Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo shows The Shriners Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The hospital is planning to close in 2021 and consolidate its area care at the charity system’s Galveston facility. The closure will end Shriners’ 100-year presence in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Shriners Hospital for Children in the Texas Medical Center will close in 2021 to consolidate area care at its larger Galveston hospital.

The decision, made last fall, was driven by a desire to build one premier hospital, according to the Houston Chronicle. It was not based on financial concerns.

Though the closure will end Shriners’ 100-year presence in Houston, it will mean all four specialty care departments — acute burns, orthopedic conditions, spinal injuries and cleft lip and palate abnormalities — will be provided in Galveston.

“This will make more efficient use of resources and enable us to provide our patients who need more than one type of care to receive it all in one place,” said Mel Bower, director of marketing at the Shriners national offices in Tampa. “It makes more strategic sense.”

Given the burn center in Galveston is considered one of the nations’s best, Bower added that was a major determinant in the decision to consolidate there rather than in Houston, since the requirements to provide such care are very complicated.

According to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, the Galveston burn center has the highest survival rate of patients with major burn injuries of all U.S. hospitals, greater than 80%.

The Shriners’ Houston hospital began under a different name in downtown Houston in 1920 and moved into its current location in the medical center in 1996.

Bower said it is still too early in the process to know what it will do with the existing building in the medical center after consolidation.