A DAMAGED building in Ashdod. Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014 furnished further proof of the need for a hospital in the city, as 236 missiles rained down on close to half a million Ashdod-region residents..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There’s a new player on the field of Israel’s healthcare system. The first public hospital to be built in Israel in more than 40 years will open its doors next month, bringing cutting edge technology and innovative integrated care to the city of Ashdod and the surrounding region.
Israel is one of the world’s healthiest countries, enjoying a life expectancy among the highest in the world: 84 years for women and 81 years for men. Israel’s healthcare is mandated by law and provided by four nonprofit HMOs. Every citizen is obligated to join a health plan, but is free to choose and move from one to another.
Israel’s healthcare system is an international leader in the implementation of Health IT and was among the first in the world to implement shared electronic medical records.
For the past 20 years, the city of Ashdod, located just 25 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, has led a battle for quality, immediate medical care. Ashdod is the fifth largest city in Israel and the only one of Israel’s 10 largest cities without a local hospital. Ashdod’s mega campaign led to a government-issued tender in 2011 to build a new hospital. The Assuta Medical Centers Network won the tender.
The 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza was further proof of the need, as 236 missiles rained down on close to half a million Ashdod-region residents.
Assuta Medical Centers is the leading private hospital network in Israel, with seven facilities across the country.
It is owned by the non-profit Maccabi Healthcare Services, the second largest HMO in Israel. In just four years, Assuta built a seven-story, 300-bed advanced, general public hospital, with plans to grow to 700 beds.
Featuring a unique bomb shelter design, the hospital is fully prepared for security crises, protected from missile attack and from biological and chemical warfare. This ensures continuous operation during times of conflict.
Assuta Ashdod Public Hospital is also Israel’s first green, environmentally friendly hospital. It will be paperless, with a digital infrastructure that ensures real-time communication among medical staff, patients and their families.
Affiliated with Ben-Gurion University Medical School in Beersheba, Assuta Ashdod will help train Israel’s next generation of doctors. Most important, Assuta Ashdod will be the hub of a totally integrated community-care system, providing patient-centered, coordinated care.
The Integrated Care System is a new national and international model that provides a holistic approach to healthcare and support needs. Assuta Ashdod is called a “community with a hospital,” as services are organized and delivered based on the needs of the individual, their caregiver and family. The hospital’s seamless integrated care will reduce the unnecessary, and often harmful, use of medical services and will work to top the charts of life-expectancy rates worldwide.
Assuta Ashdod will spur further growth in Ashdod, as it provides more than 1,200 new jobs. The hospital is filling new positions for some 250 physicians and 500 nurses in addition to technical and support staff. This is certainly one of the most dramatic Zionist projects in Israel today, as Assuta Ashdod gears up for a record of home runs in quality healthcare.The writer is chairman of the Assuta Medical Centers Network.