Hadassah Gets Its Finances in Order, but Problems of Faulty Management Remain

Renowned Jerusalem hospital reached problematic agreement with union chief, awarded cleaning contract to firm with links to union chief and hired a recently convicted staffer

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Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem November 19, 2014
Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem November 19, 2014Credit: \ Eyal Toueg

In the two years since Prof. Zeev Rotstein took over as CEO of Hadassah Medical Center, the renowned Jerusalem institution’s finances have steadied and the hospital ended last year with a cash surplus of 84 million shekels ($23.8 million).

But TheMarker has uncovered instances of faulty management, including the arrangement over the role of the hospital’s union chief, the awarding of a contract to a cleaning company and the hiring of a staffer to handle issues relating to Russia and Eastern Europe.

When Rotstein came aboard as CEO in January 2016, one of his first decisions was to demand that Amnon Bruchian, the powerful chairman of the Hadassah’s workers committee, be required be required to hold a job working for the hospital.

Until then, he had been working full-time as a union official with the support of six aides, all of whose salaries were paid by the hospital. Bruchian alone was earning 40,000 shekels a month and, as an expose by TheMarker showed, he would trade pay raises for himself by promising labor quiet while Hadassah was building its showcase hospital tower.

The union threatened to strike over the matter, but it was eventually settled through an arbitration process conducted by Steve Adler, the former president of the National Labor Court. But how Adler ruled remains the subject of disagreement between Bruchian and the hospital administration.

Hadassah said Bruchian had taken upon himself “managerial administrative responsibility” in the hospital’s emergency room and was now working there. But Bruchian told TheMarker otherwise. Asked if he was working at his new job, he answered, “not that I know of. I’m at the worker’s committee [offices]. That’s it, the worker’s committee.”

For his part, Rotstein doesn’t quite deny that. “I don’t rule out what he is saying. He is filling the place of an employee who was there in the past and is no longer there. He saved me an employee. He is doing the job to our full satisfaction and the job is being performed properly,” he said.

As to the six secretaries, Adler ruled that Hadassah shouldn’t be funding their 900,000 shekel-a-month cost. Bruchian said that he had met the terms of the decision and had cut the staff to five people who are fulling 4.5 posts.

One of them is filled by Rachel Jorabji, who Bruchian readily admits is the wife of a childhood friend Amnon Jorabji. “I hired her eight years ago, It’s a job involving personal trust so I’m allowed to do this. The workers committee is all about trust.”

However, Amnon Jorjabi himself has a connection to Hadassah as the Jerusalem branch manager of a janitorial-service contractor called Cleanor that recently won a closed bidding process for the job.

Hadassah had decided to replace its two cleaning contractors and even though the contracts are very large the vetting was done through a so-called request for proposals process that was open only to a select group of companies. Cleanor was one of three selected.

Hadassah said the vetting process was conducted the way it was upon the recommendation of an outside consultant. It called the practice widespread and accepted by public institutions. Meanwhile, it denied any role in the process or knowing that his childhood friend works there.

Rotstein also denied any connection. “Cleanor was chosen as one of three and no one knew about this or any other connection with Bruchian,” he said. “Even if I did know, it wouldn’t have disqualified the company. Bruchian is managing this.”

Meanwhile, Hadassah recently hired Elena Meller for the job of coordinator for Eastern European medical tourism and related work, which Hadassah said was based on a personal interview and an assessment of her qualifications.

But as it turns out Miller was convicted in July 2015, along with an attorney Nissim Dedzhaldeti for her role in what Tel Aviv District Court Judge Yehudit Amsterdam concluded was an illicit effort take control of Russian oligarch Alexei Zakharenko’s Israeli assets, valued at 40 million shekels, after he was found dead near St. Petersburg in 2009.

The two lost an appeal as recently as May last year and attorney Nissim Dedzhaldeti was sentenced to 30 months for his role while Miller-Samik was given three months of community service, which she completed last October.

“I accepted it as a case of rehabilitating a prisoner,“ Rothstein said. “She is a single parent with two children. I knew her as a parliamentary assistant and on the verge of collapse. That she fell in with someone who has been jailed showed she needed to be helped.”

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