Hadassah hospital's severe financial problems raised by State Comptroller, to PM, ministers

Some 5,000 staff at hospital have not received their wages on time for the last three months.

By JUDY SIEGEL
November 21, 2013 16:19
2 minute read.
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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State Comptroller Joseph Shapira expressed his concern this week about the financial troubles of the Hadassah Medical Organization, including its two university medical centers in Jerusalem, and asked Health Minister Yael German what she was doing to resolve the crisis.

Shapira’s message to the minister, released on Thursday, was sent to her on Tuesday, with copies to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, HMO director-general Avigdor Kaplan and ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu.

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HMO has a deficit of NIS 1.3 billion, due to reduced contributions by the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America that owns it; because it was forced by the Treasury to give large discounts to health funds; and because it has a relatively large administrative staff.

The crisis has been public knowledge for the last four months, and some 5,000 staffers have not received their wages on time for the past three months.

As it is not a state-owned hospital, the government is not legally bound to give HMO financial aid. The Finance and Health ministries have been working to bring about a painful recovery program for it since then, but so far it has been fruitless.

The four Israeli members of the HMO board, which is dominated by HWZOA leaders in the US, resigned a few weeks ago, claiming they were being kept in the dark in the negotiations. Those who resigned have not been replaced.

The comptroller said he was very worried about HMO’s financial problems and management’s intent to dismiss hundreds of its employees, as well as threats to close or at least shrink the staff of the School of Dental Medicine that it owns with the Hebrew University.



Although the competing Shaare Zedek Medical Center is flourishing financially and was given responsibility for the bankrupt Bikur Cholim Hospital, it accounts for only 40 percent of hospital care in the capital – a total of about one million people – and it cannot itself manage to provide outpatient and inpatient care for Jerusalemites and others outside the capital.

No comment was available from German, but in the past, when opposition leader MK Shelly Yacimovich raised the issue with her recently, the health minister said that so far HMO has “not presented a serious recovery plan to the Finance and Health ministries that would allow the Treasury to allocate funds to the financially troubled institution.”

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