Israel Medical Association condemns Litzman's intention to appoint non-physician to key position

Doctors upset that Treasury official and not physician nominated to be director-general of Health Ministry.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Medical Association sent a letter its thousands of member doctors opposing the proposed nomination by soon-to-be deputy health minister MK Ya’acov Litzman of a Treasury official as his director- general even though there has never been a non-physician in the post.
Litzman has offered the job to Moshe Bar Siman Tov, the senior official in charge of Health Ministry budgets.
The IMA said the ministry post is “a professional position that requires the taking of decisions that are strictly medical. Only a physician who is bound by medical ethics and required to give clear priority to medical considerations, especially the good of patients, over the cold calculations of cost-benefits [should get the job].”
In addition, the IMA continued, the director-general needs medical knowledge to regulate the medical profession and issue medical directives to the health system.
“We oppose the candidacy of a Treasury official who...favors drying up the health system and force[ing] doctors to ‘be more efficient’ at the expense of patients. We oppose the choice of a man who is an expert only in budgeting and not medicine and management,” wrote IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman.
“The people of Israel demand that a physician serve in this position,” the letter to IMA members, with a copy to Litzman, stated.
The latest – 39th – convention of the IMA reiterated this position clearly, he concluded. Since the founding of the state, 23 physicians have served as ministry director- general.