The Wednesday Journal's "Inside Report" Jan. 25 asked if hospitals were "cheapskates when it comes to charity?" The article noted West Suburban Hospital as providing only 0.39 percent of charges in charity care in 2003 while Rush Oak Park Hospital was providing 0.24 percent in charity care. Although the reporter could see as far as Northwestern Memorial (2.11 percent), it couldn't see the mile north of North Avenue to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Chicago in Galewood, which accepts no insurance and no government funds, providing, as it has for nearly 80 years, 100 percent of its care as charity care.
The oversight was easy: Since Shriners accepts no government funds, it does not even appear on reports from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services; and since Shriners does not spend its donations on advertising, it usually falls beneath the radar of the media.
But, as many Oak Parkers who use Shriners' services agree, sometimes the best in care comes without a bill. That fact is worth noting to your readers.
Director, Public and Community Relations
Shriners Hospitals for Children, Chicago