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Hadassah doctors strike over hospital deficit fallout

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Doctors at the Hadassah Medical Center launched a strike after talks between the Jerusalem hospital and the government over the institution’s $367 million deficit broke off.

The doctors began the strike on Tuesday and are offering only urgent treatment on a Sabbath and holiday schedule. Teaching also has been halted.

The strike also is protesting that hospital staff members will receive only half of their salaries this month due to the deficit.

Some staff has been laid off, and more layoffs could be in the offing, according to reports. The state could seek a back-to-work order.

According to reports, the state is planning to go to court to stop the deficit talks and assume control of running the hospital, then impose its own plan on deficit reduction that the doctors fear could involve layoffs.

Spread out on two campuses, the Hadassah Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in Israel and the only one specializing in head trauma.

A little more than a year ago, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, transferred $10 million to the hospital to help cover a then-$50 million deficit. The women’s group was hit hard by Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and had to pay $45 million in a “clawback” settlement to some victims of the scheme.

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