(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Three prominent doctors from Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv were questioned under caution by the national fraud unit on Sunday, on suspicion of using hospital facilities to treat “medical tourists” who paid them large sums of money “under the table” for treatment.
All three doctors are wellknown in their field, police said Sunday, adding that the questioning was spurred by an investigative piece aired by Uvda on Channel 2 in December, which showed hidden camera footage of senior brain surgeons from the hospital agreeing to bypass waiting lists to fit in patients from the former Soviet Union who were willing to pay tens of thousands of Euros.
The procedures would be performed on hospital grounds at the expense of other patients who were also slated for treatment at the state-run facility, according to Uvda and police spoken to by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
In the two cases shown on the program, the doctors were caught on film speaking to a female producer posing as an agent representing fictional patients in the former USSR looking to fly to Israel for treatment.
On Sunday police said that they are trying to determine how many patients were brought to Israel for the unapproved treatments, and how many doctors took part.
At the moment, the doctors questioned on Sunday could potentially face charges of fraud, tax evasions and bribery.
Medical tourism is a major money-maker for Israel’s hospitals, with tens of thousands of patients traveling to the country per year, pumping many millions of dollars into the coffers of Israel’s medical field.
The doctors questioned on Sunday are suspected of treating medical tourists unofficially with money they received “under the table” and left unreported to tax authorities, according to police.