Pinhas Tsruya was abruptly dismissed as CEO of Assuta Medical Center, Israel’s largest private hospital network, last week, amid what sources said was a dispute about developing a new hospital in the port city of Ashdod.
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Assuta’s board acted at the behest of its chairman, Prof. Joshua (Shuki) Shemer. “It came from nowhere,” said one senior official of the network, which comprises 11 clinics and hospitals across Israel.
The decision was taken without any announcement, but reports of the dismissal quickly spread throughout the hospital and were greeted negatively by senior staff, especially over the way Tsruya was dismissed.
Tsruya’s dismissal came during a board meeting last week to review Assuta’s 2015 annual report and ward bonuses to outstanding employees. At a point in the meeting when the CEO’s bonus was coming up for discussion, Tsruya was asked to leave the room, as protocol calls for, only to find out when he returned that he had been fired.
Only on Sunday did the medical center confirm the reports. “The CEO of Assuta and the board of directors of the company agreed in a good spirit on ending the term in office as Assuta CEO of accountant Pinhas Tsruya, in light of differences of opinion on Assuta Medical Center’s future path.”
As a rule, hospital directors stay at their posts for a decade or more, but Tsruya, an accountant by training, was on the job for less than four years. His predecessor, Dr. Eitan Hai-Am was CEO for just two years before resigning.
The leading candidate to replace him is Prof. Ari Shamiss, who is now director of the General Hospital at Sheba Medical Center and recently withdrew his candidacy to head the entire medical center. “I’m considering now what I want to do next,” Shamiss told TheMarker.
Whoever takes over the job at Assuta, which is controlled by the Maccabi health maintenance organization, will arrive at a critical time for the healthcare group. Assuta waged political struggles for many years to overcome opposition in Ashdod to the new hospitals. It will be the first new hospital in Israel since the Schneider Children’s Hospital opened in 1991.
The government has refused to build any new facilities from its own budget and conducted a tender for the new Ashdod facility to be privately financed. Assuta was the only bidder and agreed to develop the hospital only after winning a 527 million-shekel ($140 million) grant. The hospital is due to open next year.
Assuta does not release its financial reports, but it is believed to have invested considerable amounts in the Ashdod hospital, which will initially have 300 beds and the capacity to expand to up to 1,000.