How to Get Rich, Hadassah Style

Hadassah University Hospital’s director general, Shlomo Mor-Yosef, has taught us all a valuable lesson on how to get rich at the public’s expense.

Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler
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Nehemia Shtrasler
Nehemia Shtrasler

As Shlomo Mor-Yosef looks at the huge uproar overwhelming Hadassah University Hospital, he smiles contentedly to himself. Let them talk as much as they like. Let them slander him to the moon. Who has a pension from Hadassah that is the stuff of legend? Who is the director of the National Insurance Institute?

Indeed, Mor-Yosef, who was appointed the director general of Hadassah in 2001 and served in that position until 2011, led the hospital to embarrassing bankruptcy but won big on the personal level. He also provided us with an important course on public management.

The first lesson of this course is to treat workers well. Give them almost everything they ask for, and they will love you and carry you on their shoulders.

What’s the big deal? Is this your father’s money? It’s just public funding. That is how all the public-sector records were broken at Hadassah. The physicians received fantastic salaries unrivaled by other hospitals, like Ichilov Hospital, Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer or Rambam Medical Center, Haifa. They received benefits verging on anarchy, such as an additional fictitious on-call position, unnecessary on-call shifts, salaries for performing medical procedures on “second shift” even though that shift began at noon. And the kicker: cynical exploitation of the private medical service during morning hours, so that the physician received a salary for private medical services in addition to his regular pay.

Most of the revenue from private medical services (84 percent) went to the physicians and staff. The hospital received only 16 percent of the revenue, which didn’t even cover expenses. In other words, this was a situation of wealthy physicians working in a hospital that was losing money, an elegant way to rob the public treasury.

Some physicians at Hadassah earned salaries of up to NIS 400,000 ($114,000) per month The total salary expenditures at Hadassah reached up to 85 percent of turnover, which inevitably leads to bankruptcy. At Sheba Medical Center, for example, salary expenditures are up to 67 percent of turnover.

The support staff and administrative workers also used Mor-Yosef’s methods to receive all sorts of supplemental pay based on fictive needs.

For example, Hadassah has 500 employees who receive a management supplement to their pay even though — just like in the skit by the comedy trio Hagashash Hahiver — they don’t manage a thing. Plus, there is a non-essential “administrative on-call position,” fictitious global overtime and imaginary car-leasing groups.

Amnon Baruchian, the chairman of Hadassah Hospital’s administrative and support staff workers’ committee, had an annual promotions quota that he doled out to his loyalists. So who needs to listen to management when the workers’ committee makes the decisions about promotions?

The result was a large personnel surplus and absurdly high salaries. A stockkeeper earned a monthly salary of NIS 20,000, a worker in the housekeeping department earned NIS 27,000, a supply worker earned NIS 17,000 and a cleaning supervisor earned NIS 19,000.

Then there were the megalomaniac hospital tower and the enormously exaggerated discounts given to the HMOs, to the point where Hadassah Hospital’s accumulated deficit reached NIS 1.3 billion. But Mor-Yosef knew that at the moment of truth, the Finance Ministry would have no choice but to reach deep into its pockets and give Hadassah hundreds of millions of shekels to keep it from closing — exactly what is happening now.

When the Hadassah women’s organization got into an argument with Mor-Yosef and tried to dismiss him in 2010, the workers took his side and stopped it from happening. Of course they did. Who wouldn’t want a manager like that?

Finally, a retirement agreement was reached that went into effect in late 2011, giving Mor-Yosef insane benefits, such as a pension of NIS 75,000 per month until he reaches 67, at which point he will receive his ordinary pension from the pension fund. In addition, he received a severance package of several million shekels, pay for unused sick days and vacation days and continued deductions to his pension fund and various other funds, even though he is no longer an employee of the hospital.

And then came reward and punishment. For excellence in managing Hadassah Hospital, Mor-Yosef was appointed the director general of the National Insurance Institute in 2012 at a salary of NIS 60,000 per month. So is it any wonder that he’s laughing all the way to the bank?

Former director general of Hadassah Medical Center Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef. Credit: Moti Milrod
Hadassah Hospital employees striking, Feb. 10, 2014. Sign reads, 'Save the medicine at Hadassah.'Credit: Emil Salman

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