Litzman asks committee to add drugs for serious diseases

After more than six years when the amount to be added for the basket has remained steady at NIS 300 million, the Treasury has allocated 50% more.

October 10, 2016 00:00
2 minute read.
Ya'acov Litzman, the deputy health minister

Ya'acov Litzman, the deputy health minister. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

At the first meeting of the 2017 Health Basket Committee on Sunday, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said that while he has never intervened in its deliberations, he hopes that this time it will recommend adding more drugs for serious conditions such as “cancer, heart disease and diabetes.”

The committee, which is asked to recommend by the end of December what drugs and other medical technologies to add to the 2017 basket of health services that the four health funds provide members, is headed for the fourth time by Shaare Zedek Medical Center director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy, who previously held the unpaid office for three years and was followed for one year by Rambam Medical Center director- general Prof. Rafael Beyar.

After more than six years when the amount to be added for the basket has remained steady at NIS 300 million, the Treasury has allocated 50% more. Litzman said the committee would have at its disposal NIS 460m. plus NIS 40m. to expand basic dental coverage for teens. The ministry has not yet found money for genetics services, but he told The Jerusalem Post he was working on it.

Halevy, who has directed the Jerusalem medical center for nearly three decades, called chairing the “basket committee” one of the most challenging and interesting – albeit demanding – jobs that he had ever done from its medical, administrative, public, social and ethical issues. The Jerusalem physician and medical administrator told Litzman “immediately” that he agreed, even though it demands much time that he would otherwise spend running Shaare Zedek. “I was very surprised he asked me again, and it was very complimentary,” Halevy added.

The committee again has Dr. Osnat Luxembourg – head of the ministry’s medical technologies and infrastructure administration – as the coordinator.

Other members include senior representatives of the health funds; Hadassah-University Medical Center senior hematologist Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda; Dr. Talia Golan, a senior oncological gastroenterologist at Sheba Medical Center; Health Ministry deputy director-general Iris Ginsburg; Sheba cardiologist Prof. Michael Glickson; retired district court judge Hila Grestl; dentist and environmental activist Dr. Gershon Horovitz; Treasury official Noa Heiman; Leumit Health Services senior physician Prof. Shlomo Vinker; bioethicist Prof. Ruth Landau; Tel Aviv Sourasky anesthesiologist Prof. Idit Matot; Tel Aviv hevra kadisha director Rabbi Avraham Manela; Israel Lands Authority lawyer Ya’acov Quint; Treasury budgets official Ran Reidnick; Health Ministry accountant Yair Aseraf; and educator Dr. Dalia Fadila.

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