Israel Hospitals threaten to end Syrian refugee treatment over lack of gov’t funding

 

Although the gov’t has partially paid, Israel’s Health Minister has ordered hospitals to stop treating Syrian refugees [if not life-threatening] starting next week, if Jerusalem doesn’t allocate funds to allay the financial burden.

By Rotem Elizera

 

Hospitals are warning that they will cease to admit wounded Syrian refugees for treatment starting next week, if the government does not help to provide assistance to allay the financial costs involved.

Director of the Government’s Medical Centers Division Dr. Orly Weinstein said in a letter sent Sunday to PMO Deputy Director Ehud Prawer that “as we know, public medical centers up north have been admitting Syrian refugees transferred by the defense establishment for the past four years now. Most of these patients suffer from combat wounds, some very complex and require serious surgery.

Injured Syrians being treated by the IDF medics before transit to hospital – Photo- IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

“Even though the state has ruled several times that the hospitals should be reimbursed for this treatment, they have so far done so only partially,” she wrote.

Weinstein then delivered the warning. “I intend to notify the defense establishment that, starting May 5 2017, and until this issue is resolved, Syrian refugees will no longer be transferred to public hospitals unless it’s a patient whose life is in immediate danger.”

So far, the government has not paid the hospitals for the refugees’ admission, despite the fact that to the present day, Israeli hospitals have treated 2,278 people who were wounded in the Syrian civil war.

While every day of treatment is estimated to cost about NIS 10,000, the state refunds the hospital only NIS 1,300 per Syrian patient.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman threatened to stop taking in and treating Syrian refugees over the rising costs associated with such an open-door policy.

The warning came less than two months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his pride in the dedication of care hospitals in Israel to Syrian refugees.

“We’ve been treating Syrian patients for 4 years now. The wounds themselves tend to be very complicated and require complex surgeries with many teams,” explained Director of the Galilee Medical Center Dr. Masad Barhoum.

“We suffer the costs of their treatment which means that we can’t afford better technology, renovations or optimal treatment for the residents of the north because of the deficit. We have received NIS 54 million so far, but the total costs are estimated to be over NIS 300 million.”

Deputy director of the Ziv Medical Center in Safed added that “the cost of treating a Syrian patient is higher since they don’t have medical facilities in their communities which means we have to run them through a lot of tests that an Israeli patient does at an HMO.

“Additionally, we have to equip them with medicine and medical appliances since they won’t have access to them after they are released from treatment.”

Last week the funds committee held a discussion in the Knesset on the subject. A representative of the defense establishment was reproached in the deliberation after no representative of the defense establishment made an effort to show up to the last debate.

 

View original Ynet publication at:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4927772,00.html

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