Health Minister Yael German appointed a public committee on Sunday to recommend
adding NIS 300 million worth of medical technologies to the basket of health
services in 2014.
Although the chairman – Shaare Zedek Medical Center
director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy – remains at the helm, most of the
appointees to last year’s committee nominated by thendeputy health minister
Ya’acov Litzman are not on the list.
German’s spokeswoman said that
unlike the previous committee, in which some members were “close” to the
minister, she received recommendations from the head of the ministry’s
medical-technologies administration and committee coordinator, Dr. Osnat
Luxenburg, without making any changes.
By the end of December, the unpaid
advisers will go over the 600 different medical technologies offered by
importers and manufacturers (costing a few billion shekels) for inclusion in the
basket, set priorities and select NIS 300m. worth to add. The basket is the list
of drugs and medical equipment provided by the four public health funds to their
members for nominal fees. Technologies not included in the basket are paid for
by Israelis out of pocket.
The NIS 300m. sum allocated by the Treasury
has not changed in several years despite medical experts saying it was much too
small to cover the needs of the public, which is growing and aging.
recommend updating the basket by an automatic two percent each year, but the
Finance Ministry refuses.
The other committee members are Prof. Riad
Agbaria, head of the pharmaceutical faculty at Ben-Gurion University; Prof.
Aaron Ben-Ze’ev of the University of Haifa’s philosophy department;
Prof. Haim Bitterman, medical chief of Clalit Health Services; Dr. Suheir
Assady, director of nephrology at Rambam Medical Center; Prof. Dina Ben- Yehuda,
head of the hematology department at Hadassah- Ein Kerem; economist Irit
Ginsburg; Yair Aseraf, ministry deputy director-general for planning and
budgeting; Dr. Simha Gat’hon, director of multiculturalism at the Elem
organization; Shira Greenberg, health liaison at the Finance Ministry; Prof.
Daniel Vardi, deputy director-general of Leumit Health Services;
Dr. David Mossensohn, deputy medical director at Meuhedet Health
Services; Prof. Idit Matot, head of anesthesiology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical
Center; Prof. Avi Porath, head of the health division at Maccabi Health
Services; Rabbanit Malka Piotorkovsky, an educator and social activist who was
among the founders of the Takana Forum, a forum that fights sexual abuse in the
national religious sector; and Prof. Pesach Schwartzman, head of the pain unit
at Clalit Health Services in the south.
The first meeting will be on
According to Shmuel Ben- Ya’acov, head of the Patients’ Rights
Organization, “because the members were chosen late, it could harm the
committee’s ability to carry out its complicated work properly.
most of the representatives of the health system in last year’s committee are
familiar with the material, most of the public representatives are new and don’t
know the issues. The short time they have to learn the material will not make it
possible to learn the necessary material and give reasons for their
“The small budget allocated this year, too, will mean that
hundreds of thousands of patients will not get the medications they have been
waiting for even though they were given high priority in previous years,” he