Release funding for Augusta Victoria Hospital – urge U.S. senators to take life-saving action!
Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) and the other members of the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) continue to need our help to be able to continue their life-saving health care ministries in the Holy Land. AVH is owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and several other member churches of the LWF.
AVH, which provides high-quality health services to the five million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, faces an acute liquidity crisis as a result of the continued failure of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay the bills for the patients it has referred to AVH. The situation is exacerbated by U.S. cuts in funding to the Palestinians for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Together, the European Union and U.S. funding have been covering about half of the costs of patients referred to the EJHN by the PA. AVH provides a wide range of health care services, but its specialties include radiation therapy for cancer patients and pediatric kidney dialysis. More extensive background information is available here.
AVH is not able to make minimum payments to pharmaceutical suppliers of cancer medication and is currently running out of vital medication to treat its patients.
PA monthly payments have covered only a portion of the PA debts to the hospitals. As of July 31, 2019, the debt of the PA toward AVH alone amounts to nearly $40 million for the treatment of patients referred to AVH by the PA. The result is that AVH has accumulated a level of receivables that is unsustainable and that it cannot continue to accept.
Though the U.S. Congress has approved $25 million for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 to help cover the bills of the East Jerusalem hospitals, none of it has been released by the Trump Administration, which makes it increasingly difficult for the hospitals to pay pharmaceutical suppliers for cancer medications, pay staff and avoid further interruption of patient treatment.
It is therefore critical that:
- Members of Congress, especially U.S. senators, be asked to urge the Trump Administration to release the allocated funds for AVH and the other hospitals in the EJHN on a humanitarian basis in order to save lives, and
- You contact the White House directly (https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or 202-456-1111) to urge that humanitarian aid to the West Bank and Gaza, especially assistance for the East Jerusalem hospitals, be released immediately and unconditionally to ensure ongoing care for cancer patients and others needing life-saving medical treatment.