Buyer recommended for Bikur Holim

Despite an accumulated debt of NIS 100 million, Bikur Holim Hospital is no longer losing money.

Bikur Holim Hospital is likely to be sold to the Levinger-Reichman group, which has offered the Jerusalem District Court $25.5 million for it and committed itself to operating it as a general hospital for 15 years. The court put the hospital into receivership a few years ago. A recommendation to sell it to this group was made by the official receiver of the venerable Jerusalem hospital after a handful of other bids proved less attractive. But even the recommended bid from the investment group - headed by Dr. Ronit Levinger - does not offer anything concrete for hospital retirees who are dependent on the Treasury to cover their monthly pensions. Hospital director Bari Bar-Zion confirmed that the receiver, lawyer Ya'acov Spiegelman, had recommended to the court that the hospital be sold to the Levinger-Reichman group because of its "advantages." The 220-bed hospital, which went into bankruptcy but is running in the black (excluding debts to pensioners), accumulated debts of NIS 100 million due to bad management by a voluntary haredi organization. Other bidders offered $20 million each and made a commitment to run it for only five years. Staffers and the patient community fear that after that time, owners would sell the historic buildings. One of the groups announced recently that it was withdrawing its bid, leaving only the Lieder group, headed by Laniado Hospital director Gershon Lieder, in the running against the Levinger-Reichman group. But it could still take weeks or months for the court to decide on the sale.