In recent news, various important medical centers in the State of Israel have refused to accept additional patients of the novel coronavirus. They quoted the reason being that hospitals are currently experiencing a financial crisis.
These particular facilities include Hadassah-University Medical Center and Shaare Zedek Medical Center, located in Jerusalem, Laniado Medical Center, based in Netanya, and Bnei Brak’s Ma’aynei Hayeshua Medical Center, as well as three hospitals situated in Nazareth, serve a total of two million people together. This makes up for 20% of the population of the country.
These relevant public medical institutions are independent organizations, which mostly rely on donations. They are not owned directly by the government or funded by them or the health funds.
Back in the month of January, there were vigorous protests by hospitals in lieu of a financial crisis. Organizers said that their facilities were being given only half of the funds per bed that government-owned hospitals were receiving. The crisis was eventually put to bed when the relevant authorities of the government announced that they would increase the budgets of the hospitals protesting.
On the other hand, ever since summer began, hospitals have complained that the authorities have not been holding up their end of the promise. The CEO of Shaare Zedek, Prof. Ofer Marin, stated that he felt ashamed, having to beg for funds like a beggar. He addressed the concerns being faced by the hospital in an emergency press conference, with the Health Ministry in the audience.
He went on to say that the government of the country was violating the agreement that it had entered into with public hospitals. According to him, none of the clauses mentioned in the agreement had been fulfilled. In addition, the CEO revealed that their suppliers have stepped back, and their employees are not likely to be paid for taking leaves. However, he added that the worst thing about not receiving funds was the possibility of not being able to provide patients with optimal care.
A spokesperson went on to inform that Magen David Adom had begun to evacuate its patients on Monday. They were transported to health facilities located in central Israel.
As per the Coronavirus Traffic Light System followed in the country, the protesting public hospitals are situated either in the red or orange areas, where there is a high rate of infection. Hospital representatives have maintained that from Wednesday onwards, they will operate only in Shabbat mode. This means that hospital employees will provide only emergency healthcare.
A meeting was also held between the Health Ministry officials and heads of these hospitals. But no solution had been found and no progress had been made.
The Director-General of the Health Ministry, Prof. Nachman Ash, and Director-General of the Finance Ministry, Ram Blinkov, scheduled meetings with other officials to talk about distributing the promised budgets to hospitals. They were able to later announce that the hospitals will be provided with funds as soon as possible.