Ya'acov Litzman, the deputy health minister.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The financially distressed health system emerged from the budget negotiations on Thursday with an additional NIS 4.6 billion.
The breakdown of money includes half a billion shekels for mental health reform, NIS 200 million for public hospitals, NIS 120m. for Assuta’s public/private hospital being built in Ashdod, NIS 100m. to reduce waiting time for medical care, NIS 60m. to cut waiting time for MRI scans, NIS 80m. for home hospitalization and NIS 50m. for a program to minimize nosocomial (in-hospital) infections.
The program, whose aim is to strengthen the public healthcare system in the face of growing privatization, was initiated by Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, who served in the same post in the 18th Knesset. Since taking office, Litzman has reiterated that “deep treatment” is needed to restore balance in the deficit-ridden health system, which is threatened by chronic instability. “Holistic treatment is needed to repair its main distortions,” he said.
Physicians who will devote extra time to their jobs in public hospitals (as full-timers instead of working privately) will receive incentives, the Health Ministry said.
Litzman added that with strengthened public hospitals and reduced waiting periods for treatment and MRI scans, the patient will be the focus. The ministry, he said, will also invest resources to promote health and to encourage a healthy way of life. The deputy health minister thanked Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for agreeing to a budget increase and for “understanding the needs” of healthcare.
Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov, a former senior Treasury budgets official, said “the path to improve the public health system is long and difficult.
We decided today to allocate significant sums to start several processes vital for coping with the system’s problems. In addition to adding resources, we will work to improve the managerial abilities of the government on the system and deal with the area between public and private medicine.”