Report from the Gates Summer 2014
This summer, I welcome this opportunity to once again present a brief update of our activities and to report on our ongoing growth and development on numerous fronts.
As many of you are already aware, the past few months have been marked by the opening of several key departments, most notably within The Next Generation Building. The top two floors of the Building are now fully functioning and occupied by the Huberfeld Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Shapiro Hochstein Maternity Department. Construction of the Wilf Children’s Hospital encompassing the Nagel Family Inpatient Pavilion and the Friedman Family Outpatient Pavilion will be completed in late 2014 with patient care services beginning in early 2015.
I can say without reservation that these facilities represent the highest standard
of planning and design and offer a level of care that absolutely makes Shaare Zedek an international leader. The opening of these departments marks the culmination of many years of planning and labor, and imbues all of us with a deep sense of satisfaction and excitement.
In addition to physical expansion, the recent period has also seen the addition of several new top-tier physicians to the Shaare Zedek family. I see it as a definite mark of the prominence of our hospital that we have succeeded in recruiting some of Israel’s most accomplished medical professionals.
While clinical medicine is certainly our hallmark, we take no less professional pride in our research accomplishments and here too there is a great deal of progress to report. Perhaps most notably, the Fuld Family Department of Medical Genetics has recently been behind the advancement of a groundbreaking procedure known as Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). PGS, a procedure currently performed in Israel only by Shaare Zedek, is used in cases of advanced maternal age, recurrent miscarriages and repeated failures of IVF. Recurrent miscarraiges are often directly related to an abnormal number of chromosomes in embryos. Through PGS, the geneticists are able to select only those embryos with a proper chromosomal count. Through the use of this new technique, in the past half year alone we have seen a dramatic increase in pregnancy rates from 20% to nearly 80% in those women who underwent the screening. These are women who have been struggling for years with infertility challenges and this procedure therefore offers a hope-filled response for dozens of couples and is an excellent example of the way medical technology is being used to change lives for the better.
Speaking of the future, we know that many of you read the news about the Jerusalem Municipality’s approval of our hospital campus’s very significant expansion. The approval will give us nearly 100 percent more land to be developed as part of our campus and will triple our square meter building allowance. This is certainly a long-term plan designed primarily to ensure that when the need arises we will be able to expand as necessary.
Indeed, it will take quite some time before we are able to realize the full potential inherent in this approval. Nonetheless, it provides us with a secure path to promote our growth in a way that will best respond to the needs of the community we are pledged to serve. We therefore welcome the challenge to transform this vision into a reality, which we know is only possible through your continued support and friendship.
I firmly believe that the Jerusalem Municipality’s decision at this time in particular is an expression of confidence in the invaluable role that Shaare Zedek continues to play in the realm of healthcare in Israel and in Jerusalem in particular. In recent months, as our city has been forced to cope with a major healthcare crisis emanating from the financial challenges and work stoppages at Hadassah, Shaare Zedek has proudly risen to the task. In 2014, we estimate that we will see a more than 15 percent increase in average patient activity, with even higher numbers in some of our key departments. Our name continues to draw national and even international attention and several weeks ago Shaare Zedek was the subject of an extremely positive investigative report on the “HaMakor” (The Source) television program, one of Israel’s most highly regarded magazine shows. The program, hosted by two of our country’s most respected (and critical) journalists, Raviv Drucker and Razi Barkai, gave our fiscal and operational performance rave reviews. We therefore find ourselves in a time of positive change and are very excited and optimistic for what the future holds. Needless to say, we remain firmly committed to the principles of prudent professional management, adhering to the traditions that have defined Shaare Zedek for over 112 years.
If you are in Jerusalem over the coming months, we welcome you to visit and witness firsthand our remarkable growth, and I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a healthy, enjoyable and safe summer.
Jonathan Halevy, MD