Israel Medical Association condemns Litzman's intention to appoint non-physician to key position

Doctors upset that Treasury official and not physician nominated to be director-general of Health Ministry.

May 10, 2015 20:47
1 minute read.
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Israel Medical Association sent a letter its thousands of member doctors opposing the proposed nomination by soon-to-be deputy health minister MK Ya’acov Litzman of a Treasury official as his director- general even though there has never been a non-physician in the post.

Litzman has offered the job to Moshe Bar Siman Tov, the senior official in charge of Health Ministry budgets.

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The IMA said the ministry post is “a professional position that requires the taking of decisions that are strictly medical. Only a physician who is bound by medical ethics and required to give clear priority to medical considerations, especially the good of patients, over the cold calculations of cost-benefits [should get the job].”

In addition, the IMA continued, the director-general needs medical knowledge to regulate the medical profession and issue medical directives to the health system.

“We oppose the candidacy of a Treasury official who...favors drying up the health system and force[ing] doctors to ‘be more efficient’ at the expense of patients. We oppose the choice of a man who is an expert only in budgeting and not medicine and management,” wrote IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman.

“The people of Israel demand that a physician serve in this position,” the letter to IMA members, with a copy to Litzman, stated.

The latest – 39th – convention of the IMA reiterated this position clearly, he concluded. Since the founding of the state, 23 physicians have served as ministry director- general.

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