|Hospital beds.(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski)|
Public hospital charges up by over 6% this year
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
The prices of services in the health system, including those provided by the public medical institutions, are updated every year.
Per-diem public hospital charges will soon increase by 1.4 percent following a
decision by the interministerial committee on prices, which in January hiked the
rates by 4.61%, the Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday.
committee had directed the Health and Finance Ministries to devise an “objective
mechanism” for updating the daily price of hospitalization that the health funds
pay the public hospitals for this service. The High Court of Justice previously
called for updating of the per-diem hospitalization rate according to objective
The prices of services in the health system, including those
provided by the public medical institutions, are updated every year in
accordance with the per-diem hospitalization rate set by the interministerial
committee on prices. The updating is usually accomplished in January of each
year. The prices committee is always asked to prepare its recommendation on
per-diem hospitalization rates by the end of December.
But the Treasury
said that this year, the updating of hospitalization rates was “more
complicated” than usual because of the influence of major wage agreements signed
with the doctors, nurses and other professional groups. Because of this
complexity, the committee decided to set the new per-diem rate for 2012 in two
stages. After the decision in January to hike rates by 4.61%, the committee said
it would deliberate on the second increase in June after all the necessary data
As a result of the information, the additional amount was
set at 1.4%.
Meanwhile, MK Ilan Gillon of Meretz attacked the decision of
the interministerial committee to raise the per-diem hospitalization rate again,
this time by 1.4%. “The health system has suffered from continued neglect over
the years and the lack of adequate funding. It cannot be that the new wage
agreements will come at the expense of patients. As health fund budgets are
constantly eroded and the hospitals’ funding is dried up, the Netanyahu
government is trying to raise money from hospital patients, including the
elderly. He who has punished the public so far is now whipping
them. There is apparently no limit to cynicism. This is a fatal
blow to the right to health in Israel,” the MK said.
Last week, the High
Court of Justice instructed the state to update – within six months – the amount
of money it pays the four public health funds as subsidies for the basket of
health services. The ruling followed, by almost a decade, petitions by Clalit
Health Services and Maccabi Health Services about annually updating the medical
services index by which the insurers are compensated.
The High Court
decision, handed down by Justices Salim Joubran, Hanan Meltzer and Supreme Court
president Asher Grunis, said there is a gap of between NIS 1.5 billion and NIS
2.3 billion between what the state owes the health funds and what they actually
received as a result of the medical services index.
The prices committee
also decided, even before the High Court of Justice ruling, to advance the
process of changing the updating mechanism so that it would be based on
independent indices, the Treasury said. “This decision is in accordance with the
High Court decision” about debts to the insurers.
The prices committee
asked the two ministries to present their recommendations on updating the
technique by August of this year.
The Health Ministry said that it
welcomed the increase in the perdiem hospitalization rate.
“We have a
proposal regarding the mechanism for setting the price of per-diem
hospitalization. It will soon be presented to the Treasury,” said a spokeswoman
for the ministry.