Hadassah workers protest hiring of consultant to ease hospital’s money woes

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Some 300 employees of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem protested the hospital’s decision to bring in a consultant to help relieve its debt.

Hadassah will hire PwC Kesselman & Kesselman, Israel’s branch of the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, for $4 million in its bid to ease a budget deficit of more than $54 million. The firm will work inhouse at the hospital for three months and provide advice on creating a plan to reach a balanced budget, according to The Marker, the business publication of the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The workers who protested Wednesday are concerned about the consultant’s price tag and layoffs that may result from the plan.

“This is not the time to get external services from an American company that doesn’t understand the health-care system in Israel,” an employees’ committee official who wished to remain anonymous told JTA. “This is time to cut the deficit, not increase it.”

The hospital’s director-general, Ehud Kokia, resigned last month; no successor has been chosen.

Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization that owns the hospital, in a statement to The Marker said it was confident in Kesselman & Kesselman’s abilities.

“The plan presented by PwC Kesselman & Kesselman showed the company’s experience in hospital rehabilitation efforts in Europe and the U.S.,” the statement read. “The goal is to build a rehabilitation plan together with the hospital’s staffs that will bring the hospital to balance, economic stability and efficiency while maintaining the level of service given to patients, development, research and teaching.”

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