Hadassah Hospital Fiscal Crisis Sparks Feud With Women's Zionist Group

Parent Group Sees Medical Center as Mismanaged Money Pit

On Strike: Workers at Hadassah Medical Center strike amid a fiscal crisis at the hospital.
getty images
On Strike: Workers at Hadassah Medical Center strike amid a fiscal crisis at the hospital.

By Ben Sales

Published March 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Diagnosing the problem will be critical to the hospital’s recovery, but no explanation has been complete. Soon after a Feb. 11 Knesset committee hearing on the crisis, the health and finance ministries appointed a joint panel to investigate. Recommendations are expected to be released this month.

In Kaplan’s view, the hospital’s problems stem from a bad deal the hospital was pressured into reaching with Israel’s government-funded health insurance companies. Israeli hospitals typically give volume discounts to the companies in an effort to attract more business, but Hadassah’s appear to be larger than the average.

In 2013, the hospital gave the insurance companies an average discount of 26 percent. A 2010 government report found that the nationwide average that year was 18 percent.

According to Kaplan, the arrangement effectively penalizes Hadassah for performing more complex and expensive procedures. As a private hospital, Kaplan said Hadassah also covers employee pensions and malpractice insurance that at public hospitals are paid for by the government.

“The government didn’t take care of us as it should have,” Kaplan said. “They gave overly large discounts to the providers, even though we give the same kind of service to Israelis.”

The Hadassah women’s organization first noted the hospital’s deteriorating finances in 2008 and asked administrators to make changes. At the time, the executive vice president of the women’s organization, Barbara Goldstein, said the hospital had no idea which departments were making money and which were losing.

The women’s organization funds nearly all of the hospital’s research and development budget, including $250 million toward the construction of the Davidson tower. It funds 4 percent of the hospital’s daily operations budget, and over the years also has stepped in to cover deficits in the $570 million operating budget.

From 2000 to 2012, the organization gave $885 million to the hospital.

The 2008 recession and the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, which cost the women’s organization tens of millions of dollars, hurt the group’s ability to funnel large sums to the hospital.

Goldstein told JTA that the women’s organization has appointed a representative to attend hospital board meetings in an effort to exercise greater oversight. But she also acknowledged that the organization’s willingness to make up for past budgetary shortfalls contributed to the current crisis.

“They always think we’ll always come through,” Goldstein said. “There were many times when a director-general called and said, ‘Maccabi owes us 20 million, can we borrow it from you?’ It’s like loaning money to kids.”

Unlike his predecessors, Kaplan is not a physician. He holds a doctorate in medical administration and previously served as the CEO of Israel Aircraft Industries. He told JTA that the key to resolving the crisis is cutting staff and salaries.

Goldstein predicted that Kaplan will have the hospital on a sound financial footing within five years. Hospital staffers understand that cuts will be a necessary part of the restructuring, she said.

“I don’t think they’ll strike again,” Goldstein said. “Either they’re going to survive and move forward, or there’s going to be nothing.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.