In the good news/bad news category, Israel’s government has tentatively agreed to provide "significant" financial aid to cash-strapped Hadassah Medical Center, but only if the hospital cuts 350 jobs by 2016, and “finds ways to increase income,” stated to Avigdor Kaplan, the hospital's director-general. 200 employees have already been let go this year.
Originally the government had said it would not give any additional support unless Hadassah had agreed to form a "strategic partnership" with one of the country's four health funds (same as an HMO in the US). However, the hospital administrators refused to " forgo even partial ownership.”
“Hadassah cannot be swallowed up by anybody,” Kaplan avowed in August.
The change in Israel’s attitude, however, came about after “intense negotiations” involving its finance and health ministries and leaders of the New York-based Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA which founded the medical center more than a hundred years ago and still maintains ownership) and the Israel-based HMO.
"We are committed to this. The medical center is our largest Israeli connection and has been a part of our organization for 100 years now. It is a matter of finding a resolution with the government," stated HWZOA National President Marcie Natan
Hadassah Medical Center has been asking for $185 million to help offset an accumulated deficit of approximately $371 million. According to Kaplan, the facility has been running at a loss of $85.71 million annually for several years.
In the meantime, Hadassah’s board approved an emergency infusion of $25 million should it be needed. It was also noted that Hadassah possesses $400 million in reserves, “half of which is for unrestricted use.”
The Hadassah organization was established in 1912 in New York City to provide health care in Ottoman-occupied Jerusalem. In 1913, two nurses were sent to Palestine where they founded a small public health station in Jerusalem to provide maternity care and treat trachoma, (an eye disease caused by Chlamydia, spread widely in the Middle East). Today, Hadassah Medical Center, it runs two university hospitals at Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus as schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacology affiliated with the Hebrew University, and “extends a hand to all, without regard for race, religion or ethnic origin."