NEW YORK (Dec. 30)
The National Council of Young Israel, an association of Orthodox synagogues, has issued a statement criticizing the University Hospital of the New York University Medical Center for its “discriminatory” practice of billing patients for kosher food.
Nathaniel Saperstein, Young Israel president, said.” kosher food is on inalienable right of all observant Jews,” adding that “the practice of billing the patient” at New York Hospital “a surcharge for this food is unconscionable.” He said that, in recent months, several cases have been disclosed of Orthodox patients at New York University Hospital being charged extra for kosher food. Saperstein said that despite repeated requests, the hospital has refused to correct this situation.
Efforts by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency over the weekend to obtain comment from the hospital were unavailing.
Saperstein declared that persons requiring special diets were not billed by the hospital “unless that special diet happens to be kosher. This is clearly discriminatory and smacks of anti-Semitism.” He added that” what makes this situation especially galling is the fact that the major hospital insurance companies do consider kosher food as a normal expense and reimburse the hospital for it.”
Saperstein said that “in all the cases which have come to our attention, the patients were insured. Not only does the hospital bill them improperly in the first place, but they are billed even though the kosher diets are paid for by their insurance policies.”