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