Scottish Rite Hospital to Charge for the First Time

CEO says health care getting more and more expensive

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    For the first time in its 91-year history, the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children will begin charging.

    A venerable Dallas orthopedic hospital that has provided care for children free of charge since opening 91 years ago will begin charging for its services.

    A group of Masons founded the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 1921 to care for children with polio, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

    Robert L. Walker, the hospital's newly promoted chief executive, said the hospital will continue its policy of never turning a child away, regardless of ability to pay. But he said "health care is very expensive, and is increasing every year," and revenue from billing will help the hospital best fulfill its mission.

    About 90 percent of the hospital's patients are covered by some form of insurance, including Medicaid.  To date, the remainder of hospital operations had been covered by gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations.

    Admission to the hospital is open to Texas children from birth up to 18 years of age, with a referral.