(JTA) — Hadassah University Hospital, facing a $49.4 million deficit for its two hospitals in Jerusalem, is seeking to cut wages.
Wage cuts of 2 percent for a two-year period are part of a recovery plan that the hospitals’ management is seeking to institute, Haaretz reported.
Workers, according to the paper, are demanding that the composition of the institution’s board be changed as a condition to any wage reductions. The New York-based Hadassah, Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which owns the hospital, controls its board.
Officials at Israel’s Health Ministry met last week to discuss Hadassah hospital’s financial difficulties. Hadassah has hospitals in Jerusalem at Ein Kerem and on Mount Scopus.
The hospitals do not get government support, but rather rely on payments from Israel’s health maintenance organizations, accounting for 96 percent of revenues. Other funding comes from the women’s group, which itself has experienced financial difficulties in recent years and has cut the amount it gives the hospitals.
Hadassah did, however, contribute more than $363 million for a new hospital tower at the Ein Kerem campus.
In a statement sent to members and provided to JTA, Hadassah national president Marcie Natan said Hadassah supports "the hospital’s recently initiated program of efficiencies, which will lead to fiscal and medical improvements." The statement did not address workers’ concerns about the board composition, but members of management contacted by Haaretz insisted that changes to the board would not be considered, the paper reported.
Hadassah officials have said they remain committed to supporting the hospital.
Ehud Kokia, director-general of the medical center, told Haaretz that the hospital’s management is looking for a long-term solution to the problem, and noted that many public institutions are currently facing similar financial troubles.
In addition to a decline in contributions, Hadassah was forced to return $45 million in connection with the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, and Hadassah recently announced the $71.5 million sale of its New York headquarters. Also, Hadassah last month began the final spinoff of the Young Judaea youth organization.
Hadassah says the two decisions do not relate to its financial health.