Health commission cancels private care in public hospitals

Health commission cancels private care in public hospitals

Minister Yael German: NIS 1 billion budget infusion will lead to shorter waiting times, more services

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Health Minister Yael German (photo credit: Flash90)
Health Minister Yael German (photo credit: Flash90)

Public hospitals will no longer be allowed to house private medical services (known by the acronym Sharap), Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) announced at a press conference in Jerusalem Wednesday.

German was presenting the findings of a committee she headed that examined a range of issues relating to the health system over the past year.

“There can be no quality health system without a quality public health system, and a public system must depend on public funds,” she said. “If we depend on private services, it would cause the government not to invest public funds into the system.”

She also said that waiting times would be decreased for Israeli patients thanks to an additional billion shekels granted to the Health Ministry.

“There will be transparency in the lines and the health indicators, we will install computerized systems with which we will be able to know what is happening in every hospital, how many people are going in to the waiting rooms for surgery, and accordingly we will be able to establish how we can evaluate the waiting system.”

NIS 300 million will be transferred to the ministry in the coming year, with the remainder arriving in future years.

The committee also said that the new monitoring system would allow the ministry to improve medical tourism to Israel. “The tourism will serve the residents and the citizens, and will not come at their expense. Until there is a system to monitor the lines, we will not able to put medical tourism into the system as we would like.”

“We will tax medical tourism in order to shorten the waiting times,” said the Health Ministry director-general. “We will also settle on the fair service for medical tourists. They too deserve fair treatment. It’s not cheap to come here; there are other countries competing with us. The tourist patients come here so they deserve appropriate treatment.”

Israelis will also be alerted when they buy redundant insurance plans, German said. “Every citizen will know when he has double insurance, and when to cancel one of them. The citizen will be able to go into a computerized system and compare the plans.”

German was optimistic about what the ministry’s new budgetary increase would allow it to provide. “We believe that the rare addition to the budget, the first to come to the health system in years, will ultimately result in the citizen paying less, waiting less, and receiving more.”

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