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Cancer Nonprofit to Close Facilities After Texas Health Cuts Future Funding

"The speed and magnitude of the funding cuts have put us in a very difficult position," said the Cancer Support Community North Texas board chair.
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Cancer Support Community North Texas' Hats Off event Photo courtesy: Cancer Support Community North Texas

Cancer Support Community North Texas will close two of its three regional clubhouses among other cuts after Texas Health Resources decided to stop funding the nonprofit in 2025.

Cancer Support Community North Texas is a regional outpost of an international organization that provides support and inspiration to those affected by cancer through support groups, individual counseling, healthy lifestyle activities, social events, resources, and children’s programs. The group also operates three clubhouses in Dallas, Collin, and Tarrant counties to provide a space to deliver the services. In a move that the nonprofit described as unexpected, THR will no longer be a significant funder of the organization as of January 1, 2025. The health system had previously been a long-term financial booster of the nonprofit and funded 55 percent of the nonprofit’s budget.

When THR told CSCNT they would no longer be funding the organization, it forced the nonprofit to plan the closure of two of the clubhouses until it can secure other long-term financial backers. “We acknowledge and are grateful for THR’s generous support in helping us meet the critical cancer support needs of patients in our community, unfortunately the speed and magnitude of the funding cuts have put us in a very difficult position,” says CSCNT Board Chair Dave Ashworth.

The nonprofit says the Dallas County clubhouse will remain open, but it will no longer reside in the THR Cancer Center, where it had been. The Tarrant and Collin County clubhouses will close in 2025, as they were funded by THR. The nonprofit is actively looking for other locations in Dallas County to house the meeting space. According to the nonprofits 2022 Form 990, it had revenue of around $1.2 million in 2022 and expenses around $1.4 million.

“For almost 25 years, my husband, Doug, and I have been steadfast supporters of Cancer Support Community North Texas. Having played an instrumental role in opening the signature red doors of what was then Gilda’s Club North Texas, we have proudly watched as this amazing organization grew from one Clubhouse on Oak Lawn Avenue to three Cancer Support Community North Texas locations strategically placed throughout the region,” says Laura Wheat, the former Mayor of Westlake and four-time cancer survivor. “CSCNT recognizes that when cancer is in the family, no one is spared and thus stands ready to support all those impacted with its community building programs and services. We are excited to see what the future holds for CSCNT as it transitions from a clubhouse centric model, expanding its reach to meet those impacted by cancer in the community. We look forward to supporting CSCNT for another 25 years as it seeks to ensure that no one in North Texas faces cancer alone.”

The past couple of years have been tough for hospitals, with higher labor costs and low reimbursement rates thinning margins. A Kaufman Hall report predicted that half of all hospitals ended 2023 in the red. North TExas has not been immune from the financial struggles. Trinity Regional Hospital Sachse declared bankruptcy last year and was later bought by Medical City Healthcare. On Monday, Dallas-based Steward Health Care declared bankruptcy after offloading hospitals and its physician group to help make up for its mounting debts. White Rock Medical Center stopped accepting ambulances this week after it laid off 35 percent of its staff. 

Texas Health operates 20 hospitals with around 26,000 employees in 16 North Texas counties. According to ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer tool, the nonprofit system’s expenses have grown from $505 million in 2014 to $858 million in 2022, an increase of nearly 70 percent. Revenue for that period rose from $869 million to $1.11 billion, an increase of just 28 percent. Revenue dropped 20 percent at Texas Health between 2021 and 2022. 

“Texas Health remains committed to caring for cancer patients and their families. We recognize the value of the support provided by Cancer Support Community North Texas and we have fully honored our agreement with them. Texas Health will continue to fund the organization’s operations through the end of the year, and hope this advance notice allows them to plan accordingly,” a statement Texas Health. “Over the last two years we have transparently discussed the reduction of monetary support with the Cancer Support Community leadership, and it is not indicative of our support for the organization or the families they serve. We continue to provide patients and their families with a variety of support, navigation, and educational opportunities to help them throughout their treatment.”

The funding cuts come at a time when CSCNT has been experiencing record demand, especially for support groups, exercise and nutritional classes, and educational events. The group has been providing free mental health support to those impacted by cancer for 20 years. In 2023, CSCNT says more than 6,400 visits from cancer patients and their families at the clubhouses, in person, and via virtual meetings.

The clubhouses will experience a significant reduction in services this summer as well. There will be limited in-person support groups through the end of the year and continued virtual support options. The budget cuts will also impact CSCNT’s licensed mental health staffers beginning this summer. “There are no words to describe the impact on our team. They are the lifeblood of this organization,” says CSCNT CEO Mirchelle Louis. 

“My partners, and I have been blessed to be housed in the same building with CSCNT for the last 10 years. I have seen firsthand the amazing work they do for our patients,” says Texas Oncology physician Dr. Haskel Kirkpatrick, who sees patients in Texas Health Dallas’ cancer center. “This news is heartbreaking, mainly for our cancer survivors, and their families. We are all shocked and saddened about this unfortunate development.”

Despite the difficult position, Louis remains confident that the organization will persevere and find other funding sources to continue to serve the needs of the cancer community. “We know the need is great, but given this new funding gap, right now we’re focused on transforming ourselves to ensure we not only serve our current cancer patients and their families, but the thousands more who need us.”

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Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…
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