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Shriners Hospital In Tampa To End Inpatient Care

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
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The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Shriners Hospitals for Children will stop offering inpatient care at its Tampa location starting in August.

The hospital will instead focus resources on care that doesn’t require an overnight stay, officials said.

The change is being made because of a decrease in the need for overnight hospital stays nationally, said Mel Bower, chief communications and marketing officers for Shriners Hospitals For Children.

“There’s been a national trend toward outpatient care and that simply reflects the technological advancements within pediatric care,” Bower said. “So conditions that might have once required a long term hospital stay can now many of them be treated with an outpatient procedure.”  

The hospital will continue to offer clinic visits, rehabilitation, wheelchair services, prosthetics and orthotics, Bower said.

“The only thing that will change is that more complex surgical procedures requiring an inpatient stay will still be performed by our surgeons but they will be performed at a local affiliate location,” Bower said. 

The Shriners hospital and its surgeons will continue to treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, Bower said. But he could not say whether the affiliate hospitals would charge for care.

The hospital will layoff employees when the transition happens on Aug. 1, but Bower would not say how many would be affected.

“They have already been notified but it is not the majority of our employees,” he said.

The change will save the hospital money, which will be reinvested in the hospital’s mission of caring for children, Bowers said.

“Shriners have always been thankful and relied upon the charitable donations of others and we feel like we have a responsibility to ensure that those donations are spent in a way that sees the most patients treated with the highest quality of care,” he said. “We believe this is a step in that direction.”

Patients should receive a letter from the hospital informing them of the change.

Shriners Hospitals for Children opened its Tampa location in 1985 and has served more than 50,000 children with orthopaedic conditions, the hospital reports on its website. It’s one of 22 children’s hospitals operated by Shriners throughout North America.  The first hospital opened in 1922 to help children with polio. The hospitals now specialize in treating children with orthopaedics, burn care, spinal cord injury and cleft lip and cleft palate. The hospitals get their funding from Shriners International, a fraternal organization based in Tampa.

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Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.
Julio Ochoa
Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.