Former Hadassah University Hospital director Shlomo Mor-Yosef said Wednesday that he is being unfairly blamed for the hospital’s financial problems. Taken to task for the major wage bonuses he received in his former job, Mor-Yosef refused to take the blame for the Jerusalem hospital’s dire financial straits, saying that the Finance Ministry and the New York-based Hadassah women’s organization, which sponsors the hospital, knew about its financial decline but failed to do anything about it.
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Mor-Yosef was speaking at a session of the Knesset Finance Committee, which he was attending in his current capacity as director general of the National Insurance Institute. He had initially been asked to attended to discuss imbalances in the NII’s own cash flow. However, Knesset members demanded that he respond to a report in Wednesday’s Yedioth Aharonoth daily about salary bonuses that he received from Hadassah during a period in which the hospital accumulated a huge deficit.
Hadassah hospital filed for protection against creditors on Friday, and only paid staff at the hospital’s two Jerusalem locations half their salaries at the beginning of the month. The hospital has also been wracked with labor unrest over the past several days.
Labor MK Stav Shaffir demanded that Mor-Yosef comment on the hospital’s deficit and its allegedly improper use of some funds for ongoing operating expenses. It was important, Shaffir said, “not to ignore the elephant in the room.”
For his part, Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) said Hadassah was not the topic for discussion, but Shaffir insisted that Mor-Yosef respond.
Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) came to Mor-Yosef’s defense, saying: “It’s very easy for us to wake up to headlines and switch the agenda. With all the importance of Hadassah, and it has importance, we cannot diverge from the topic [of the NII] that is much more important. We are not defending anyone, but we have come to a hearing about the National Insurance Institute.”
According to the Yedioth report, Mor-Yosef, who was Hadassah hospital’s director general from 2001 to 2011, signed a new employment contract in 2006 that authorized the hospital’s board to award him bonuses in addition to the tens of thousands of shekels that he received as his regular salary. In 2011, he got two bonus payments totalling about 280,000 shekels (about $79,600 at the current exchange rate), while his cumulative bonus payments over the years came to about 1.8 million shekels.
Since stepping down as the hospital’s director general, Mor-Yosef has continued to draw monthly compensation from Hadassah of 75,000 shekels, which is due to be paid until he reaches retirement age in 2019, and all told is slated to total some 10 million shekels. This is in addition to his 60,000 shekel monthly salary as NII director general.
Due to the Hadassah scandal, it was not initially clear that Mor-Yosef would come to the committee session, but his office confirmed that he would attend and would address the situation at the hospital as well.