Seven Israeli hospitals will close their doors to nonessential treatments in one week if the government does not find a way to forge a budgetary agreement that will enable them to operate.
The Media Line — Seven Israeli hospitals will close their doors to nonessential treatments in one week if the government does not find a way to forge a budgetary agreement that will enable them to operate.
Hadassah Medical Center and Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem; Laniado Hospital in Netanya, the seaside city north of Tel Aviv; Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, just east of Tel Aviv; and, in the Galilee, Holy Family Hospital, Saint Vincent De Paul French Hospital and Nazareth Hospital EMMS, will all pare down their activities to only emergency and essential health care next week.
“We are orphans of the system. We will not be able to pay our staff or our suppliers and contractors at the end of the month. This must stop,” Prof. Zeev Rotstein, director general of Hadassah Medical Organization, told the media gathered outside the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Nineteen of these are owned and operated by the state (“government hospitals”) and treat close to 50% of all patients. Nine are owned by the four national health funds (think HMOs), with the largest being Clalit Health Services, which treats 30% of hospital patients.
According to a 2019 State Comptroller’s Report, Israeli hospitals suffered from a combined deficit of NIS 5.6 billion (about $1.8 billion). During the last year, the state covered NIS 3 billion for the government sector’s hospitals, whereas Clalit received NIS 2.3 billion to cover its hospitals, as well as other payments for its other operations. The seven nonprofit hospitals shared a NIS 200 million “stabilization payment.”
Because the state owns and runs its own hospitals, their deficits are cleared up first, whereas the other hospitals are left fighting for funding to stabilize their operations.
“There is a very clear, inherent conflict of interest in the Israeli health care system. The government regulates all of the hospitals and to some extent helps finance them. However, government hospitals are in direct competition with the nonprofit ones,” stated Prof. Avi Weiss of the Economics Department at Bar-Ilan University, near Tel Aviv.
“This differential treatment has been [the subject of] an ongoing discussion for the last 30 to 40 years already. Everyone talks about this inherent imbalance that leads to the government hospitals having their deficits covered by the government, while others are not,” Weiss, who is president of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, told The Media Line.