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Clalit Health Services to Downsize, Close Hospitals

Clalit Health Services is eliminating 790 jobs and closing two hospitals as part of an agreement signed with the Ministry of Finance last week.
By Zalman Nelson
First Publish: 7/7/2009, 12:04 PM

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Clalit Health Services is eliminating 790 jobs and closing two hospitals as part of an agreement signed with the Ministry of Finance last week, business publication Globes reported.

As part of the agreement, the ministry will put up NIS 230 million over three years to ease the health fund’s financial struggles, in exchange for a streamlining plan and the retirement of hundreds of longtime employees.

Hospitals to Close
Clalit will close the Herzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera and transfer beds to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. The Hasharon Hospital in Petach Tikva will be shut down and some of its units will be sent to the Rabin Medical Center at Beilinson Hospital, also in Petach Tikva.

The agreement between Clalit and the Finance Ministry includes several other measures, including a reduction in the number of deputies at hospitals and closure of Clalit’s Tel Aviv-Jaffa district office.

Clalit is Israel’s oldest and largest health service provider, with around 3.8 million insured members, or 54 percent of the Israeli population. It operates a network of 14 hospitals, pharmacies and dental clinics, and over 1,300 primary and specialized clinics.

It was founded in 1911 by a group of 150 immigrants desiring a mutual aid health care association. When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Clalit helped rework Israel's health care system to handle huge waves of new immigrants.

Until Israel's national health insurance law went into effect in 1995, Clalit was associated with the Histadrut labor movement and exclusively served its members. After the new law created a compulsory health care system based on four service providers (Clalit, Leumit, Maccabi, and Meuhedet), membership became open to any Israeli citizen.

The name "Clalit" means "general" in Hebrew and derives from the Histadrut's full name: The General Federation of Laborers in the Land of Israel.