After the release of State Comptroller Justice Micha Lindenstrauss’ report citing failures of the Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom, the Knesset Audit Committee picked up the ball. The committee convened on Monday, 21 Sivan 5772, reviewing the findings, which committee members called “quite serious”, adding that when a senior MDA official says “everything is okay” it is time to worry. MK (Ichud HaLeumi) Uri Ariel said “Instead of saying thank you to MDA for its dedication, we must address the serious issues as they appear in the report”.
The committee plans to work to create a new reality, with Ariel reminding his colleagues that the health ministry and MDA are supposed to present a detailed report addressing the deficiencies to the committee by July. Ariel added “I am not ruling out the establishment of additional organizations in addition to MDA, since competition is beneficial even when it comes to life saving”.
Boaz Anar, the representative of the State Comptroller’s Office spoke of the need of modifying the MDA Law, without detailing. He was critical of MDA because its board of directors simply failed to adequately address the damaging state comptroller’s report, adding those in positions of power have been in their posts for too long, the organization lacks transparency regarding the election of senior officials.
Deputy Health Minister (Yahadut HaTorah) Yaakov Litzman explained he may turn over the state comptroller’s report to an outside legal authority for a ruling, explaining “this is not the first report, not the second and not even the third. We must amend the law”, simply stating that an alternative to MDA is needed sooner rather than later.
Prof. Rami Gamzu, the director-general of the health ministry praised the state comptroller’s work for exposing the truth, promising to work with MDA to implement corrective measures within four months. The ministry’s deputy director, Dr. Boaz Lev added such measures have already begun and new appointments are being monitored along with other actions by senior MDA officials.
Miri Cohen, who heads the ministry’s emergency services, says that some changes have already been made in the past and additional changes should be expected in the future as well, in cooperation with the Justice and Finance Ministries.
Committee member Dr. Aryeh Eldad added that MDA’s internal audit committee has ceased to function. He calls for dissolving the organization’s governing board and appointing a new one. He feels one may no longer repair the current makeup of the board, which must be replaced.
MDA Director-General Eli Bin, who was present, explained “MDA is not Lego that one builds and disassembles”.
Other committee members, including MK (Kadima) Marina Solodkin explains that MDA was set up in the 1950s and what may have been appropriate then is no longer appropriate. Kadima colleague MK Ze’ev Bielski added “to save a life, we must eliminate the ego” in his reference to MDA, reaffirming that yet another damaging state comptroller’s report regarding MDA mustn’t be ignored.
Also discussed was MDA’s decision to join the International Red Cross and the ramifications, the removal of the Red Magen David from ambulances stationed in areas of Yehuda and Shomron.
The committee feels that the organization must undergo a major overhaul and new bodies must be brought into the picture of pre-hospital emergency medical care, which will be to the benefit of all.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)