(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Three days after Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abecassis revealed a Treasury document in the Knesset Finance Committee stating that no money remains to give bonuses to physicians who work in the periphery, the Treasury said it had “found” the missing NIS 75 million to restore the benefit for 2016.
The committee was discussing parts of the Treasury’s Arrangements Bill relating to health issues.
The incentive payment originated as a result of a 2011 strike by public-sector physicians who fought for additional medical manpower for the residents of the northern and southern parts of the country. It came in addition to bonuses for medical residents who would study specialties such as gerontology, neonatology, anesthesiology and other specialties of which there are serious shortages.
The Health Ministry spokeswoman said, “Thanks to Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman’s activities,” the NIS 75 million would be restored, thus giving bonuses to young medical specialists who decide to work in the periphery.
“Concern for the periphery stands at the top of our priorities.
Expanding bonuses to doctors will bring about the strengthening of public medicine, especially outside the center of the country. We are happy that the effort to give priority to the periphery proved itself in the field.”
The ministry spokeswoman also thanked, “Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for his responding to this vital topic and Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni for bringing this for approval in the committee.”
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The committee also approved a section of the bill affirming that it would be forbidden for the health funds to give patients who have supplementary health insurance policies any refunds for treatments or consultation with a medical specialist working in a private medical institution.
Instead, each health fund will have a list of specialists joining the arrangement so that patients could go to and pay a minimal co-payment of only a few dozen shekels.
The Treasury said this arrangement would make it possible for health fund patients to receive inexpensive consultation or treatments, as well as give them more bargaining power in comparison to private patients. It will also encourage physicians to join the arrangement rather than work privately and will strengthen public medicine at the expense of private medicine.
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