Israel's Government Submits Objections to Hadassah Recovery Plan

Jerusalem opposes major provisions in recovery plan for financially strapped hospital, including closing the hospice and treating 'wage cuts as loans.'

Shiran Granot

The government said Tuesday a three-year wage cut for employees at ailing Hadassah Medical Center was insufficient and demanded that the reduction remain in force until the hospital’s financial situation had stabilized.

The government also rejected a provision that would treat the wage cuts as loans to the hospital that would ultimately have to be repaid to employees. Instead, the government said the matter should be reconsidered several years from now and should not apply to employees who leave in the interim.

Also, government attorneys said they opposed closing Hadassah’s hospice, in-patient psychiatric facilities and Center for Clinical Quality and Safety.

The state’s objections were filed four days after court-appointed trustees submitted their turnaround plan for the famed Jerusalem medical center. The hospital, which is controlled by the Hadassah women’s organization, filed for protection from creditors in February after running into severe cash-flow problems.

On Tuesday, the government said it would insist on an outside auditor to oversee the recovery process. Attorneys said they would not compromise on the auditor issue, but Avigdor Kaplan, Hadassah’s CEO, has vowed to resign if an outside auditor is forced on him.

Other objections voiced by the government were over a plan to appoint an observer representing Hadassah doctors to the hospital’s board of directors.

Another sticking point from the government’s perspective is the issue of so-called sharap services — sharap is the Hebrew acronym for private medical services offered by hospital doctors after they have completed their hospital duties. The government said it objected to extending sharap hours and to a proposal to offer private medical treatment to emergency-room patients.

The chairman of the Israel Medical Association, Leonid Eidelman said the government’s response to the plan was paving the way for the hospital’s liquidation. “The government’s conduct in the negotiations is a disgrace,” he said.

Nevertheless, Health Minister Yael German called on Hadassah doctors, the only party not to give their assent to the recovery plan, to back it in a vote scheduled for the end of the week.