Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
After a convoluted nomination process that took many months, Sheba Medical Center director Prof. Zeev Rotstein has been appointed director of the Hadassah Medical Organization.
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and the HMO’s board of directors announced the appointment on Thursday, after Rotstein finally gave his consent. He will replace Prof. Tamar Peretz, who has been acting director since June 2014, and take up the position at the beginning of January 2016.
Litzman and the ministry had many run-ins with Rotstein when the United Torah Judaism MK was previously deputy health minister, over Rotstein making decisions independently of the ministry, which owns Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.
But since taking office as minister, Litzman concluded that the very well-connected and powerful Rotstein is the only medical administrator with a chance of turning around the troubled HMO, regarded in the past few years as the “sick man in the hospital system.”
Delays in his appointment resulted from Rotstein’s own demands and the fact that – by subsidizing HMO to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels to cover debts – both the Finance and Health ministries had to approve the nomination in addition to the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America.
Rotstein, who has business interests abroad, had been severely criticized for various actions by Treasury accountant- general Michal Abadi- Boyanjo – a former Health Ministry deputy director-general in charge of supervising the four health funds – as well as by the state comptroller on other issues.
Litzman stated on Thursday that he “wishes him great success in this important position.
I am sure that Prof. Rotstein is the most worthy person for this job, because of his great capabilities and long experience in the health system. We will do all we can so that he will succeed in his task to bring HMO to prosperity and success for the benefit of the patients.”
Health Ministry director- general Moshe Bar Siman Tov, a former senior Treasury budget branch official, added that “HMO’s hospitals were and will continue to be the building blocks of the country’s health system, and we will work together with [Rotstein] and the management team for the continued growth and development of the hospitals.”
Sheba’s management was silent Thursday and Rotstein, 65, was unavailable for comment as he has been spending nearly six months in New York for a sabbatical.