Magen David Adom's charges for emergency ambulance service will be reduced by 7 percent starting Friday. The reduction, signed into effect by Health Minister Ya'acov Edri, includes all types of ambulances including mobile intensive care units. Instead of charging NIS 635 for transporting victims of road accidents to hospital via a mobile intensive care unit, MDA will charge NIS 589. The fee for a trip of up to 20 kilometers in a regular ambulance will be NIS 294 instead of NIS 315.
According to the National Health Insurance Law, an Israeli resident transported in a regular ambulance who is hospitalized can get a full rebate on the cost from his health fund. If he is not hospitalized, he does not receive any money back. If someone is hospitalized after being taken to hospital in a mobile intensive care unit, he gets a full rebate from his health fund, but if he is not hospitalized he gets back half of what he paid.
In 2005, MDA's medics, paramedics and volunteers carried out 444,691 calls via its ambulances or an average of over 1,200 per day. Every nine minutes, it evacuated road accident victims, and every five minutes it took a woman in labor to hospital. More than 400 babies were born in MDA ambulances last year. The 2005 number of calls answered by mobile intensive care units was 8.5% higher than that of the previous year, in which 429,586 people were taken; the figure for regular ambulances was 1.1% higher in 2005.
MDA had to evacuate 59,530 road accident victims last year, a 2.9% reduction compared to 2004.
MDA Director-General Eli Bin said that the statistics reflect a shift in policy to make better-equipped and better-staffed mobile intensive care units available for more patients.
MDA's blood services received 282,955 units, a small increase over the previous year. A quarter of all blood units was donated by soldiers; but this represented a 2% decrease from 2004. There was a 37% increase in the demand for special types of blood units, such as components, in 2005 compared to 2004.