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Shriners Hospital for Children in Shreveport cites record growth, on firm financial ground

Kate Archer Kent

Shriners Hospital for Children in Shreveport is on track to complete the year caring for a record number of patients in its 92-year history. It also marks the first time that it has four, full-time pediatric orthopedic surgeons on staff. Interim chief of staff Dr. John Fox says the entire Shriners organization feels the growth spurt with about 3,200 admitted patients this year.

“You can easily add patients to a schedule, but it adds a tremendous amount of time to each day. Also, it’s taxing when we have families who are shocked about something they see,” Fox said. “They learn this is going to take surgery or months of physical therapy to overcome. We want to be able to spend the time with them, and fortunately we’re able to do that here.”

Shriners Hospital administrator Kim Green says with a very busy hospital, there have been new opportunities for patient care and growing pains with its physical plant.

“We’ve had to be creative. We took an office and sort of morphed it into an exam room with all the requirements there. But also, because those numbers are ramping up, we got approval to bring in a fourth surgeon,” Green said.

The financial position of Shriners Hospital in Shreveport is much more stable than before the Great Recession because in 2009 it adopted the “St. Jude model,” according to Green. It accepts insurance from families that have it. Fox says the greatest obstacle now is getting the word out about what Shriners does.

“I’ll talk to a lot of people and say I work at Shriners. They say, oh, that’s great. What do you do? There seems to be a lack of understanding of what goes on here. As far as medical care for children, I think this place has so much to offer,” Fox said.

Shriners Hospital for Children interim chief of staff Dr. John Fox juggles administrative duties and patient care. He says he's in surgery twice a week.

The Shreveport Shriners is now treating children with pediatric fractures, something it couldn’t do with fewer physicians on staff, according to Green. He says it’s also doing more cleft lip and palate surgeries and partnering with pediatric specialists in the community.

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