Bikur Cholim Hospital 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
An all-important meeting that will apparently decide the fate of Jerusalem’s
Bikur Cholim Hospital will be held at 8 p.m. on Sunday by Health Ministry
director-general Dr. Ronni Gamzu in his office, with representatives of the
hospital management, the Histadrut and the Treasury.
RELATED:Bikur Cholim on way to closure as board members resign
The management has
asked the Treasury for a “one-time” state grant of NIS 30 million to put the
hospital back on its feet, after which it hopes Bikur Cholim can go into the
black with services that will earn more money. If not, it will go bankrupt and
close, management says.
The hospital – 80 percent of whose patients are
observant Jews – said it lacks the money to pay staffers their salaries on
January 9, and that the hospital will from Sunday lack insurance. Thus the
hospital staffers sent a message to Prime Minister and Health Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu last week that at midnight Sunday they will be forced to abandon their
responsibility for all patients in the 200-bed hospital.
During the last
four months, employees have had to give around a third of their wages to
management as a loan to keep the 143-year-old hospital running.
the fact that United Torah Judaism offered to cover the NIS 30 million with
party funding, Treasury budget officials have said this would be “impossible”
because it is a “private” hospital (it is a voluntary hospital purchased
privately by Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak), even though a
hospital with a similar status – Netanya’s Laniado Medical Center – received a
NIS 60 million state grant three years ago to keep it going.
Cholim’s executive board, headed by Dr. Yoram Blachar, said the Sunday meeting
was its last hope for survival.
Never in the history of the state has a
hospital been shut down.
Until now, Netanyahu has been silent on the
Bikur Cholim problem.