'Deficit is Endangering Patient Health'

In a sharply-worded letter, the Israeli Medical Association calls on Lapid to immediately allocate 600 million NIS to government hospitals.

Cynthia Blank ,

Hospital (illustration)
Hospital (illustration)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

"The health care system has no money and patients are paying the price," the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) wrote in strongly-worded letter sent to Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health Minister Yael German Wednesday, warning that the hospital's financial deficit is putting patients in jeopardy. 

Walla reported that the letter, signed by the chairman of the IMA, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, calls on the Finance Ministry to immediately allocate 600 million NIS ($161 million) to government hospitals - a sum equivalent to the size of the deficit in the hospitals. The letter also calls to increase the health budget to 400 million NIS. "All the public hospitals in this country, both the governmental ones and those belonging to general health services are in deficit - an absurd and dangerous situation," warns Eidelman.

"The country's health system has operated with a budgetary dearth for many years," Dr. Eidelman opens the letter. "To maximize the potential of today's medicine, patients need medical staff, drugs and equipment - all these are more invaluable than ever before. The state ignores that and continues to allocate resources in the same order of magnitude as in the nineties, at a time when all the world's developed countries are increasing their investment in health, regularly and substantially. "

Eidelman continued: "All the healthcare providers are fighting each other. The Kupot Holim (HMOs), in deficit, are forced to pull budgets, thereby leaving hospitals vulnerable to the cold wind of a poor economic reality. Do not neglect the patients and do not take away the hope of the healthy that the best medical treatment will be available when they need it."

Since the crisis experienced by the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, members of the health system are extremely worried about the growing deficit in state hospital budgets. Recently, hospital administrators warned that there is a shortage of life-saving drugs.

In a separate letter published by Professor Shimon Reisner, the Deputy Director of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Reisner protested what he called the "hand to mouth" policy with regard to the purchase of essential medical equipment. "Intervention is needed today by the Ministry of Health!!" Resiner signed the letter.

Director of the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Professor Ze'ev Rothstein, sided with the IMA's letter, stating that the deficit will result in layoffs after the holidays. "This is the first time in 66 years that we are cutting back on surgeries we have performed until now," said Rothstein. "There is a severe budget problem, not just for Sheba, but for other government hospitals as well."



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