New committee seeks to divest Health Ministry of state hospitals

Government hospitals should become public corporations instead of owned and supervised by the Health Ministry, Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri said over the weekend. He said he hopes that will take place before he leaves office. Ben-Yizri made his remarks at the first meeting of a special steering committee aimed at turning the state hospitals into nonprofit hospital corporations. The Health Ministry was envisaged almost 20 years ago by the State Judicial Commission on the Health System as being a directorate that would supervise and set standards but not supply hospital services to the public. The current situation puts the ministry in a conflict of interest. But the proposed reform was never implemented due to opposition from the Treasury, unions and others. Thursday's meeting was attended by representatives of the Health and Finance ministries, the health funds, the Civil Service Commission, the hospitals and the public. Ben-Yizri said the government decided that hospitals should be run independently and thus more efficiently. The new committee will be divided into a number of subcommittees that will function until the ministry is divested of its state hospitals, Ben-Yizri said. "Managing hospitals is a very heavy burden that requires professionalism, experience and following the policy set by the ministry," he said.