National Council of Churches joins Lutherans in concern and prayers for East Jerusalem hospital
Washington, February 10, 2014 – The National Council of Churches USA is joining its Lutheran partners in concern and prayers for the financially beleaguered Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem.
The NCC response follows a declaration by the Lutheran World Federation that it “remains steadfast in its commitment to the ongoing management” of the hospital “and the life-saving services AVH provides.”
But the financial crisis facing the hospital is a matter of deep concern, according to an LWF press release.
The LWF reports:
By the end of January 2014, AVH had receivables in the amount of EUR 18 million. These receivables result from non-payment of fees for patients that are referred to the hospital by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The PA pledged to pay for the treatment of these patients but it has not been able to uphold its commitment to patients referred to hospitals such as AVH throughout 2013.
AVH is managed efficiently and effectively. It operates in the black and, had all fees been paid by the PA, the hospital would have a cash surplus.
AVH provides life-saving healthcare to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, including specialized treatment offered at its cancer, diabetes and pediatric centers. The hospital is widely acknowledged in governmental and church circles for its excellent treatment and care and was accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) in May 2013.
The LWF continues to be committed to the future of AVH and the patients it serves. AVH is a cornerstone of the Palestinian health system and an important institution in the overall social infrastructure of Palestine.
The LWF is, therefore, negotiating with the PA as well as advocating that individual governments and the European Union (EU) find a solution that will enable the PA to honor its financial commitments. The EU has committed to assisting the PA and the East Jerusalem hospitals financially. However, the final decisions regarding the EU payment will not be made until later in 2014. While the promised aid is highly welcomed and appreciated, it does not address the immediate cash flow crisis.
The LWF and the board and staff of AVH stand together in their resolve to strengthen AVH for the critical role it plays and will continue to play in Palestinian society. The LWF asks its partners to redouble their advocacy for a solution to the current situation.
In 2012, AVH cared for nearly 28,000 inpatients and outpatients.
Its specialized care centers offered more than 13,200 dialysis sessions, nearly 10,000 chemotherapy sessions, and over 14,000 interventions in the radiation oncology unit on an outpatient basis.
The LWF started running AVH in 1948 in partnership with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
Click here to view the original LWF post.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), email@example.com