Hadassah Hospital Crisis Nearing a Conclusion?
The crisis at the Hadassah Medical Center appears to be approaching its conclusion, as a restructuring plan was submitted Sunday night to a Jerusalem District Court.
Attorneys Lipa Meir and Asher Axelrod, trustees of the hospital, submitted the plan which would have the state pump 1.3 billion shekels ($375 million) into Hadassah Hospital over the course of seven years. Additionally, 30 doctors would leave the hospital under terms of retirement.
The plan would also have the salary of doctors reduced by 4.5% over three years. In effect, the reduction will function as a loan to the hospital, which will be returned in ten years. In terms of private medical services, no change will occur under the plan.
The plan also has Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America pledging to transfer 900 million shekels ($260 million) over a period of several years, with 310 million shekels ($90 million) being transferred this year.
Workers and Hadassah's creditors are to vote on the restructuring plan this Tuesday, in a meeting of creditors that is to be held separately from that of doctors, administrative and financial workers, as well as nurses.
Last Wednesday an all-night meeting resulted in an agreement framework satisfying the demands by unions representing doctors, a framework that apparently formed the basis for the plan. In that framework the state agreed not to demand that the salary cut "loan" would be repaid in ten years, but rather that it could be repayed whenever the hospital's financial situation warranted it.
A major strike broke out at Hadassah Medical Center in February over poor working conditions after staff suffered from a month on half-pay, and as a result several senior members of both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus quit, fed up over the hospital's inability to compensate for missing wages.
The strike began a backlash against the Finance Ministry for allegedly stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget. Likewise the medical centers decided to close their doors, operating on the schedule normally reserved for Shabbat and holidays.
The strike eventually ended with an interim agreement stipulating that the wages of Hadassah employees who earn less than 15 thousand shekels a month will not be cut. However, a permanent agreement has yet to be signed.