Monday, July 6, 2009
Shrine Imperial Session
The 135th Session of the Imperial Council, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine is meeting in San Antonio this week. The official opening occurred today in the Lila Cockrell Theater of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, along the banks of San Antonio’s famous ‘River Walk’.
During today’s session, Nobles debated the proposal of the board of directors to close six of the 22 Shrine Hospitals nationwide. The reasons expressed for closing the six hospitals was to help stem the hemorrhaging of Shrine resources which has been going on unabated since 2001 and prevent the speculated bankruptcy of the Shrine. The plan was to consolidate the functions of these hospitals into the remaining 18 hospitals and hopefully improve on the low 27% occupancy of North America’s full service Shrine Hospitals. Emotions and passions ran high and in the end the delegates voted to withdraw the proposal to close the six hospitals and give their directors more time to continue on their cost cutting initiatives.
In another resolution, the delegates voted to approve an amendment to the by-laws of the Colorado Corporation to redefine what is meant by the term “Shriners Hospitals”. In the language of the resolution the concept of Hospital was changed from a full-service brick and mortar facility to become a level of service concept. Such levels of service include ambulatory care facilities used for day surgery and out-patient care. Under the approved resolution, the board of directors, after consultation with hospital directors and staff, will have the authority to change the level of service being provided by hospitals, while such hospitals will remain clearly identified to the public as a Shrine Hospital.
During the afternoon session, the election of the 2009-2010 Imperial Divan Officers was conducted. Jack H. Jones (Imperial Recorder) was elected Imperial Potentate for the term which would have been filled by Terry McGuire who passed away last year. Jeffrey L. Sowder (PGM Kansas) was elected to the office of Imperial Outer Guard. All other Imperial Divan officers were advanced one position.
Beth and I have thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this Imperial Session and San Antonio’s River Walk. Our thanks to Imperial Potentate, Douglas E. Maxwell and his lady Patricia for all of the courtesies extended to us.
One final note: yesterday afternoon, at the Public Opening of the Imperial Session, I had the occasion to meet and visit with MW Tom McCarthy, Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota and fellow blogger (mngrandmaster09.blogspot.com).