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Clalit Health Services is planning to build a private hospital in the center of the country using the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) method, in which a private developer raises the money, constructs the facility and runs it for a specified length of time before turning it over to the initiating organization.

The hospital is intended for private operations that are not covered by the public health system as well as procedures that are covered by optional, supplemental health insurance.The health maintenance organization is expected to publish a Request For Information (RFI) in June. Clalit CEO Zeev Vurembrand told Haaretz about the hospital plan, the estimated cost of which is $20 million.Vurembrand said the franchisee would operate the hospital for 20 years, during which period Clalit would pay it about $7 per square meter of floor space. Current plans call for a 60-bed facility with eight operating theaters taking up 10,000 square meters.Additional services and private doctors' offices would be built on a 2,000-square-meter area. An underground parking area is also planned.According to Vurembrand, the hospital would be built next to another hospital. Petah Tikva, Hod Hasharon and Tel Aviv are all under consideration as possible locations.Clalit, which was part of the Histadrut labor organization until about a decade ago, enjoys a 55 percent market share. It serves 3.8 million members, including 1.3 million children, according to the organization's reports.According to its reports, Clalit has an annual sales of NIS 17 billion.Clalit owns about 700 community health clinics and 14 hospitals, including Ha'emek Hospital in Afula, Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. Clalit operates 400 pharmacies and has 32,000 employees, including 9,000 doctors.Clalit has long wanted to establish a private hospital and has been lobbying the Health Ministry assiduously. The Health Ministry would prefer for the HMO to purchase the Herzliya Medical Center rather than building a new hospital.The private hospital market in the center of the country is controlled almost exclusively by Clalit's rival HMO Maccabi. Maccabi owns two of the four private hospitals in the center ? including Ramat Marpe and Assuta - and recently announced its acquisition of American Medical Center in Rishon Letzion through a subsidiary, Assuta Medical Services.