Shaare Zedek Hospital.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
With the Health Ministry lacking a real health minister (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nominally in charge) and state hospitals complaining of near bankruptcy, the Finance Ministry and Health Ministry director-general Prof.
Arnon Afek on Sunday said they had agreed to take “certain steps to create balanced budgets and normal administrative conduct.”
In the week since health minister Yael German of Yesh Atid resigned, government hospital directors have claimed they have no money to buy necessary equipment and to perform elective surgery.
The Finance Ministry issued on Sunday afternoon a statement on behalf of the Health Ministry, saying that “in order to continue to provide high-quality medical services to the citizenry,” the Treasury’s budget branch, the Health Ministry and the state hospitals’ authority agreed that a grant of an additional NIS 150 million would be allocated to the state hospitals – “dependent on it being a solution to cash-flow problems.”
The Treasury added that in the 2015 budgetary year, the two ministries and the new state hospitals’ authority will carry out a hospital-by-hospital examination of those that exceeded their budget.
The three entities will “take every action to create full transparency by the hospitals in their running of financial systems in the government hospitals and hospital corporations that function at their sides.”
The Treasury added that it will hold in-depth examinations of the state medical centers to “characterize their failures in financial management and recommend steps to ensure that they meet their budgets.”
Meanwhile, in a letter he wrote Sunday to Netanyahu, MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) demanded the holding of an urgent meeting of the “finance and health ministers and the prime minister to save the public health system.”
The chairman of the Israel Medical Association, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, issued his own demand – that the Treasury add NIS 200m. to the allocated NIS 300m. for expanding the 2015 basket of health services.
At a meeting of the Yedid voluntary organization to mark Human Rights Day late last week, Eidelman said he was sure there was “not enough money” in the basket, which each year has been expanded by only NIS 300m. every year for some eight years. With the current increment, “vital and innovative drugs that cost hundreds of millions of shekels will not get into the basket” and be provided to relevant patients by their heath funds.
He reiterated that there must be an automatic 2 percent annual increase, instead of the NIS 300m. handed over by the Treasury.