Expert named to probe comptroller MDA critique

Litzman appoints former budgets director in Finance Ministry as external adviser over criticism of functioning of Magen David Adom.

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July 25, 2012 02:51
2 minute read.
The new MDA facility

New MDA building 311. (photo credit: Courtesty of MDA)

 
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Ran Balinikov, the former budgets director in the Finance Ministry, has been appointed by Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman as an external adviser “dealing” with the section of the State Comptroller’s Report on the Health Ministry that criticized the functioning of Magen David Adom.

Litzman asked Balinikov to examine the comptroller’s report and present recommendations for the ministry to deal with the problems in the organization of first-aid, blood-supply and ambulances. The comptroller’s report, said Litzman, had raised a series of problems in the way the institutions that run MDA function, especially regarding their supervision and internal control.

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A few months ago, after the critical report was published, the Knesset State Control Committee stated that it “would not rule out the establishment of additional lifesaving organizations to compete with MDA.”

The report said MDA institutions that had been meant to supervise and control it were “powerless.” Litzman told the committee he was considering the transfer of comptroller reports on MDA from recent years to an “external judicial source that will determine the necessary steps.”

Thus, instead of a judge, he has now appointed a financial expert to make such recommendations.

“This is not the first report, the second or [even] the third, and the matter must be dealt with, including by changing the MDA law,” Litzman said.

Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu then told the Knesset committee that the latest comptroller’s report was “a clear and sharp statement on the running of the organization and the rules of supervision by the state and MDA itself. We will handle the subject together with MDA and fix all the shortcomings within four months,” he promised.



A whole list of MDA positions and official bodies had been set down, from the president of MDA appointed by the president of Israel for three years, to the national convention, to the council and the actions committee and its various subcommittees, the comptroller wrote in his report. The last two were charged with supervising the daily activities of MDA, whose director-general since 2005 is Eli Bin and whose chairman of the actions committee, Dr. Noam Yifrah, was appointed in 2004. But MDA institutions met infrequently, the comptroller wrote, and too often, “MDA institutions supervised themselves.”

The comptroller also criticized the fact that the tenure of senior officials had not been limited.

“This is liable to bring about the accumulation of too much power in their hands and prevention of monitoring and renewal in the organization,” he wrote.

Asked to comment, MDA management said that two months ago, it appointed a committee to correct its shortcomings. It added that it “welcomed the appointment of a similar body in the Health Ministry that will repair the shortcomings of the government as raised by the State Comptroller.

In another two months, each of these bodies will present its corrections to the Knesset Internal Control Committee.”

It added that the latest State Comptroller’s Report on MDA joined a previous one “in which MDA received praise on its management and functioning.

MDA accepts the critical comments,” it added, and is already acting to correct what needs to be corrected in rigorous rules of control. It noted that the comptroller commended MDA in his report for correcting past shortcomings.

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