Private medical facility opens in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev

Health Ministry encourages opening of urgent-care centers to reduce emergency room pressures.

December 28, 2016 01:39
2 minute read.
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The answer to overcrowding and long queues in hospital emergency rooms is urgent-care facilities in the community, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said on Tuesday at the opening of the private Terem urgent-care center in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood. Litzman said occupancy rates in all the hospitals have been raised due to the current cold season and patients suffering from complications of the flu.

Urgent-care centers have doctors, nurses and equipment to treat patients during the day or after hours (at night, on weekends and holidays), when hospital emergency room staffs are usually reduced and include more interns and residents than specialists. They are owned by health funds or other public or private interests.

The Health Ministry has helped to finance the opening of 11 such centers in the periphery, in both the North and the South, in areas where residents have less access to urgent medical care. “We will open more according to the criteria we set,” Litzman added. Other money comes from the local authorities and the health funds. The public insurers cover the cost of most of the medical care in Terem facilities, with which it has agreements, and patients pay relatively small fees, except in the late-night and early- morning hours.

The Jerusalem District Office of Meuhedet Health Services, on Rehov Haturim, has announced that it will soon open a mini-emergency room for its more than 400,000 Jerusalem members on the first floor.

Besides the health minister, the ceremony at 158 Rehov Moshe Dayan was attended the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Yael Antebi, heads of the health funds and heads of Terem. The Pisgat Ze’ev facility was opened at the request of Antebi, who said she was concerned about the residents of northern Jerusalem and the Benyamin region. It will join Terem’s existing Jerusalem centers in Romema and Arnona, in addition to its family clinic on Rehov Gedud Haivri.

The Romema branch recently began offering an emergency urgent-care service for pregnant women needing a monitor and ultrasound; there is a serious shortage of gynecologists in the high-fertility city, especially as religious Jewish and Arab women prefer female gynecologists.

Meanwhile, Litzman made a surprise visit to the emergency room of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which the ministry said currently has an occupancy rate of 102.2%. Other Israeli hospitals’ occupancies ranged from 76% at The Rabin Medical Center-Hasharon Campus in Petah Tikva to 139% at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

Litzman said he was impressed by the dedication of the medical staff during periods of crowding, but that the reality in all the hospitals’ emergency rooms and departments requires changes. The minister said the crowding would have been reduced if more people had gotten flu shots.

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