The head of Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and other senior officials were reportedly questioned this week by Finance Ministry investigators on suspicion of inflating doctors’ salaries.
According to Army Radio, the suspicions involving Zeev Rotstein relate to a crisis at the Jerusalem hospital two years ago concerning its children’s cancer ward.
The report did not provide further details.
“These are false accusations. The state does not know how to appraise proper management,” Hadassah was quoted saying in response.
The crisis at Hadassah began in October 2016 with Rotstein’s decision to reorganize the hemato-oncology unit in a manner which six doctors and three interns from the pediatric hemato-oncology unit found medically and logistically unacceptable. The doctors later resigned in March and were backed by most of their patients’ families, who had petitioned the High Court to allow resigning Hadassah staff to transfer as a unit to nearby Shaare Zedek Medical Center, as doctors had attempted to do themselves in the early days of the crisis.
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman vehemently opposed the opening of a new department at Shaare Zedek, saying that the existence of two pediatric hemato-oncological units in Jerusalem would split resources and weaken provision of services overall.
The crisis was set off by a management plan to transfer a child bone marrow transplant expert, Dr. Paulina Stefansky, from the unit without consulting Professor Michael Weintraub — who previously headed the unit before resigning — to an adult transplant unit in another building.
The idea was to use available beds in the adult unit to treat non-Israeli child “medical tourists” — who would pay high fees for transplants that would help replenish Hadassah’s depleted coffers — and have the already overstretched team from the children’s unit care for them, along with their Israeli patients in the children’s department.
Sue Surkes contributed to this report.