Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
MKs on the Knesset Finance Committee have demanded that the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defense, Finance and Health ministries pay up debts to the Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya for treating wounded Syrian civilians.
Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism said Tuesday that “various parties knew how to take credit for the humanitarian decision to absorb the wounded from the war in Syria, but the matter of paying for the treatment has fallen between the cracks.”
After it succeeded in proposing a solution and an agreed on an outline for funding the treatment of the wounded, the committee has still not managed to get the ministries to pay up. The Nahariya hospital has a deficit of tens of millions of shekels due to the costs of treating the Syrians wounded by their long civil war, thus it has no money for development and purchase of equipment, which harms residents of the North.
MK Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) noted that the hospital’s survival is in danger. “It is inconceivable that the State of Israel can not solve this issue after it has taken upon itself the treatment of the wounded from Syria.”
Na’ama Holtzman, adviser to the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that until 2015, the burden of paying for the Syrians was one-third on the Health Ministry, one-third on the Finance Ministry and onethird on the Defense Ministry.
Last year it was supposed to be shared half and half by the Health and Defense ministries.
“But there was a dispute over how to calculate per diem hospitalization costs,” she said. “The Prime Minister’s Office was asked to do so on March 14. Regarding the future, it was agreed that the costs of handling the Syrian operation were 1.4% of the cost of a day of hospitalization at an Israeli rate.”
Holtzman said “the problem with past debts is that there is a gap between a tourist rate and the rate for treating Israelis, thus producing a gap, and the hospital is owed NIS 28 million.”
Gafni demanded that the ministries inform the committee of how and who will pay the debts to the hospital, which serves a patient catchment area covering 600,000 people, and that by the end of this year, the four offices will get together and resolve the issue.
The committee has held two previous meetings on the issue in the past few months.