(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Health Ministry last night “welcomed” Tuesday’s ruling by the Jerusalem
District Court that ministry officials will have to publicize which of the
health funds provide the best services according to an objective comparison of
The court’s decision ends four years of legal action by the
Movement for the Freedom of Information, which battled against the ministry for
refusing to provide such information.
“The ministry is acting to apply
with suitable care the necessary data on the four health funds,” its spokeswoman
said. “The time has come for Israel’s good health system to step ahead in the
presenting of quality results in medical institutions.”
must be provided to the public starting in April 2012. Currently, health funds
may voluntarily supply their own data on meeting healthcare standards, but in
less than a year, the ministry must do so objectively so that consumers and
patients can decisions on the basis of reliable information.
data will be which health fund performs more vaccinations, their members’ rates
of preventable diseases, amount of effective health promotion and tests, the
quality of treatment and where more patients die.
The ministry has long
opposed mandatory reporting of this data out of fear that it would be
misunderstood by the public, who would not appreciate the fact that hospitals
that handle more difficult cases and therefore where more die would be labeled
as having lower quality.
The ministry also thought government hospitals
that it owns might be criticized as a result of comparative data.
hospital directors pressed the ministry to oppose the publishing of comparative
data so as not to look bad.