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    Hadassah Hospital faces cash flow crisis in aftermath of coronavirus

    Zeev Rotstein said that the hospital lost NIS 1.2 billion from lack of activity and spent more than NIS 300,000 on direct coronavirus costs.

    Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, Israel (photo credit: ALMOG / WIKIMEDIA)

    Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, Israel

    (photo credit: ALMOG / WIKIMEDIA)

    Hadassah University Medical Center is facing a financial crisis and will not be able to continue operating if it does not receive reimbursement for its work during the coronavirus crisis, said Hadassah director-general Zeev Rotstein.

    All public hospitals were asked by the Health Ministry to halt elective procedures and some outpatient clinic work to make beds available for a flood of coronavirus patients that never came. In addition, there were no referrals and payments from the health funds.

    During the crisis, he put 250 employees on furlough because there were few patients to treat.

    At the same time, the hospital had to invest in the purchasing of new lab equipment, respirators and monitors, personal protective equipment and more. During the crisis, Hadassah processed nearly 100,000 coronavirus tests. The central laboratory at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer handled only 19,584.

    In total, Rotstein told The Jerusalem Post that the hospital lost NIS 1.2 billion from lack of activity and spent more than NIS 350,000 on direct coronavirus costs – money that the state has yet to reimburse.

    “We were promised by the Finance and Health ministries that we would be fully reimbursed for the extra cost for the corona treatment and the loss of patients that did not come,” Rotstein said.

    As a result, he said, there is a cash flow problem at Hadassah and, he surmises, at most other public hospitals. The situation is compromising Hadassah’s ability to pay its providers.

    “On Wednesday, it got to a point where we had to pay our hospital suppliers and we had nothing” in the bank, he continued. He said that he warned the ministries that “we will be shut down if we do not urgently receive relief.”

    Recall that Hadassah was in terrible debt before Rotstein took over in 2016. Since then, Rotstein said the hospital was on the path to pay back its deep debt by 2025. Nonetheless, because of its challenging economic past, the hospital cannot borrow money from the bank to help it get through.

    Rotstein said he approached the relevant government offices, including the Health and Finance ministries, and asked them to remove the red tape to move payments forward immediately. He said he is confident that the government will not abandon the public hospitals, but officials need to understand “the seriousness of the financial situation.”

    The Health Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

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