The Hadassah Medical Organization lost its third director- general in four years, as Avigdor Kaplan resigned on Monday.
Kaplan, who held the office in the financially troubled institution for one year, was replaced by a temporary director- general, Prof. Tamar Peretz, who was chosen by the board of directors that same day.
Peretz hopes to fill both the temporary post and her regular job as director of Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology until a permanent replacement is named by the board in about six months.
Although Peretz – a world-renowned expert in breast cancer – did not present her candidacy, it was known that she had wanted to replace director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef when he ended two terms in 2010.
He was replaced by Prof.
Ehud Kokia, then director- general of Maccabi Health Services, who resigned in January of last year after 13 months in the job. Kokia said he decided to leave because he was unaware of the depths of Hadassah’s financial troubles when he agreed to serve.
Kaplan, who is not a physician but an insurance expert, has been saying that he would leave if the government did not cancel its scheme for an outside accountant to supervise Hadassah’s expenditures.
Kaplan said it would be impossible to function with such outside intervention.
However, it was widely known that Kaplan, a wealthy man from the Dan region who is a multimillionaire and will soon mark his 75th birthday, had enough of Hadassah’s struggles and was eager to leave in any case.
Kaplan, who declined to speak to the press, resigned two weeks after the Jerusalem District Court finalized a recovery agreement among Hadassah, the Finance Ministry, creditors and the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America that would eliminate the medical organization’s immediate debt of NIS 300 million and longterm debt of NIS 1.3 billion.
Temporary board of directors chairman Avi Balashnikov accepted Kaplan’s immediate resignation. In a nerve-wracking process, Kaplan managed to get all sides to agree to painful cuts in the budget, dismissals and allocations of funds to keep it going.
The board thanked Kaplan on Monday for “leading the many steps for efficiency in the two hospitals. He was the captain who led the great ship of the Hadassah Medical Organization to a recovery agreement,” Balashnikov said. “We thank him for his great contribution and wish him success in the future.”
Peretz will lead a team of financial and other management experts to implement the recovery program, the organization said, while putting the patient in the center of medical activity, in which the hospitals excel.
The 61-year-old oncologist, married and the mother of two, has been head of oncology since 1994, after finishing her medical degree in 1980 and her residency in oncology in 1986.