Assuta Could Lose Clalit Patients

Clalit's supplementary insurance program may stop sending its clients to Assuta hospitals, because they lack insurance for employee medical negligence.

Clalit's supplementary insurance program may stop sending its clients to Assuta hospitals, because they lack insurance for employee medical negligence.

Loss of Clalit's clients would be a hard blow for Assuta: It receives thousands of patients referred by Clalit Mushlam every year, who provide it with NIS 70 million in revenues.

The loss would also adversely affect Clalit Mushlam clients. Assuta is the largest privately-owned hospital chain in Israel, and their healthcare provider will have difficulty finding an immediate replacement.

Doctors who work for Assuta are covered by medical negligence insurance through the Israeli Medical Association, as required by law. The hospital itself, however, which used to be insured by Harel, did not renew its insurance this year, opting instead to create its own, internal insurance fund.

Assuta's vice president of marketing Dan Engel said this was because insurance companies sharply raised premiums this year. "This market suffers from a lack of competition, and with the financial crisis, we get the feeling that the increased premiums are not related to increased risk, but are an attempt to maximize profits. We did not feel that Assuta should finance the insurance companies' problems," Engel said.

Clalit confirmed the report. "We are indeed concerned over Assuta's lack of insurance. We have asked Assuta and the Health Ministry for clarifications, and will make our decision based on their responses," a spokesman said.

Engel hints that Clalit, too, is motivated by financial considerations. "Clalit's acquisition of the Herzliya Medical Center was approved early this year. Since the acquisition, Clalit has been motivated to transfer operations to the center," he said.