Hospital bed growth rate not keeping up

Half of the medical centers are owned by the government and 30 percent by Clalit Health Services, the largest health fund, with the rest by voluntary organizations and private companies.

January 20, 2016 04:30
1 minute read.

Man lying in a hospital bed at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem [illustrative].. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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A total of 121 beds were added to the country’s 44 general hospitals in 2014 and an additional 26 last year, according to the Health Ministry’s latest report on hospitals, which was released for publication on Wednesday. There are also 12 psychiatric, 27 geriatric and two rehabilitation hospitals. Half of the medical centers are owned by the government and 30 percent by Clalit Health Services, the largest health fund, with the rest by voluntary organizations and private companies.

The growth rate of hospital beds is not keeping up with the population, as there were 1.863 beds per 1,000 residents in 2014, a 3% decline since the end of 2010 and a 16% decline since 2000, the ministry said. The highest rates of hospital beds per residents are in the Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv district, while those in the north were 12% lower and the south 24% lower, as the periphery continues to lag behind.

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Hospitalization days declined to 632 per 1,000 residents in 2014 compared to 647 the previous year, but the comparison could be good or bad news: It could mean hospitals are “fixing” patients faster or the sick are being discharged earlier due to lack of space. The ministry does not state which is correct. The average occupancy rate of hospitals fell slightly from 96% in 2012 and 94% in 2013 to 93% today.

As for deaths, there were 24,528 during hospitalization in 2014, which were 58% of all deaths, compared to 55% in the mid-1990s. The average hospital stay was four days in 2014 compared to 4.3 days in 2000.

The health system has 3,505 psychiatric beds, most of them owned by the government. Psychiatric patients are hospitalized for fewer days than a decade ago and a third of them are kept in hospital for over a year, compared to 48% long-term stays in 2000.

As the population ages, there are 24,888 geriatric beds, most of them for long-term stays. Occupancy remains steady at 93%. There were 853 beds in 2014 for rehabilitation from stroke, fractures and other illnesses, and the occupancy rates for these are high at 110%, meaning that extra beds are crowded into institutions beyond the number that are allotted to the institutions.

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