Shriners Hospitals to move from Cincinnati to Dayton

Mel Bower Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Shriners Hospitals for Children. Photo Marshall Gorby
Mel Bower Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Shriners Hospitals for Children. Photo Marshall Gorby

Children’s, Shriners have worked on deal for past nine months.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati is officially moving to the Dayton Children’s Hospital campus.

The announcement comes nine months after the two parties said they were tentatively working on a deal to move the specialty medical center to Dayton.

The 51-year-old Cincinnati hospital is known for being a leader in pediatric burn treatment and caring for patients regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Shriners has expanded in recent years to specialize in other types of care such as cleft lip and palate, plastic and reconstructive surgery for children.

Dayton Children’s can treat some burns but now refers the most serious cases to Shriners in Cincinnati.

MORE: Shriners move to Dayton comes as burn treatment is rapidly advancing

The move to Dayton likely will be late this year. Shriners will operate as a “hospital within a hospital” and open on the west side of Dayton Children’s where the critical care unit had been before it moved to the new hospital tower, said Stacy Porter, Dayton Children’s spokeswoman.

Cincinnati Shriners Hospital will continue to treat new and existing patients at its Burnet Avenue location while construction is completed in Dayton.

Leading up to the decision to move to Dayton Children’s campus, there has been a steady decline in the severity and number of pediatric burns in the U.S., especially those requiring a long hospital stay. Shriners was sometimes half empty in Cincinnati, and spokeswoman Mashayla Colwell said they need to be good stewards of the donations they receive.

“We have to be good stewards of our dollars. We are a completely donation based system,” she said.

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THE STORY SO FAR

PREVIOUSLY: In March 2019, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Cincinnati announced they were working on a plan to move to Dayton Children's Hospital, which depended on the two groups working out a final deal.

WHAT'S NEW: The deal has been finalized and Shriners is officially moving to Dayton.

WHAT'S NEXT: The space on Dayton Children's campus will be renovated and operations will then move to Dayton, most likely by the end of this year.

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This decline was in part because of fire prevention and education efforts championed by Shriners.

Colwell said “we have a very dedicated staff of people who have been here for years” and they hope employees will stay with them as they move to Dayton. Shriners now employs about 200 and they will have a similar number of employees in Dayton.

In the United States, approximately 9,000 people died from burn-related injuries in the mid-1970s. At that time, burns covering more than 20% of a patient’s body were nearly always fatal. Forty years later, the number of burn-related deaths had declined by more than 50% and patients with burns covering up to 90% of their bodies can survive with appropriate treatment, according to a 2016 report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The federal agency reported the rate of burn-related inpatient stays decreased 34.6% between 1993 and 2013 in the U.S.

Along with the declining demand for inpatient burn care, medical advancements have led to people healing faster and returning home sooner.

FIRST REPORT: Shriners moving burn unit from Cincy to Dayton Children’s

The average length of stay for women declined from 9.4 days to 7.3 days while that for men went from 9.5 to 8.5 days, from 2008 through 2017, according to the American Burn Association.

The Dayton Daily News also previously reported that burn centers have gotten better at managing pain on an outpatient basis, burn dressings can stay on longer without being changed, and providers have gotten better at making calls on whether second degree burns can heal without surgery.

The new location will also allow Shriners Hospitals for Children to operate more efficiently by working with Dayton Children’s and purchasing some services. Porter said Dayton Children’s anticipates Shriners referring patients to services at Children’s such as imaging. However, Shriners will operate as an independent hospital and patients can be referred to wherever they want to go for these services.