Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the solution to the financial problems of
Jerusalem hospitals was to “open them to the international market” through
“For every bed that we market abroad, we will earn
enough for a bed for Israelis,” he said at a meeting of the Jerusalem Lobby in
the Knesset on Monday.
“The solution for the Hadassah Medical
Organization and Shaare Zedek Medical Center is to offer medical tourism. This
is the giant advantage of Jerusalem – the connection of know-how accumulated in
Jerusalem hospitals that are among the best in the world – along with incentives
from the government to bring medical tourists,” Barkat said. “This will put the
hospitals on their feet financially. I suggest that the government start a pilot
immediately so we can advance the matter.”
Asked to comment, Shaare
Zedek’s director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy told The Jerusalem Post
that Barkat should not have linked the two hospitals as he did.
has a colossal deficit. Shaare Zedek is not in this condition. It has a healthy
budget, a stream of donations and it is well-managed,” he said. “We have not
asked the government for money.
“But it is true that unlike hospitals
owned by the government and Clalit Health Services outside Jerusalem, both
Hadassah and Shaare Zedek do not get funding from the government to pay for
pensions, malpractice insurance and other expenses,” Halevy said.
added that medical tourism is not the solution to Hadassah’s financial problems,
as it already earns a good sum from foreign patients, but this did not save it
from its NIS 250 million deficit. He noted that Shaare Zedek also accepts
medical tourists, but limits the number of patients from abroad so that they do
not come at the expense of Israeli ones.
Halevy said he would ask the
mayor’s office to correct his suggestion that Hadassah and Shaare Zedek were in
the same financial boat.