(photo credit: Sourasky Medical Center)
Hospitalization costs in Israel’s public medical centers are 17 percent lower
than the average rates in Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
countries – even though prices in general here are higher than the OECD average,
the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
This statistic, part of a project
that the OECD is carrying out to identify gaps in hospital price levels among
member countries, proves that Israel’s “health system is efficient,” said
ministry director- general Prof. Ronni Gamzu.
“This proves the strength
of our public health system, which succeeds in functioning at relatively low
cost while at the same time being among the leading OECD countries in the health
condition of its population,” he said.
Gamzu added that he did not
believe the health system could become more efficient (that is, do the same with
less money) under the current per-diem system.
“The stress has to be on
continuing the trend of hospital rates according to the type of procedure or
disease [diagnosis- related groups, or DRGs],” instead of the health funds
paying a per-diem rate, according to the number of days the patients are
hospitalized, he said.
Hospitals have an incentive to keep patients in
the wards longer to earn more from the per-diem system, while it is more
efficient for them to be paid according to the procedure and receive a flat
Gamzu, a former director of Ichilov Hospital at the Tel Aviv
Sourasky Medical Center, said he believed that by using DRGs more, efficiency of
the system could continue to improve.
Earlier this week, Dr. Leonid
Eidelman, chairman of the Israel Medical Association, and the Association for
Civil Rights in Israel stated that Israel’s health system was in a NIS 9 billion
to provide a minimum of decent healthcare.
In the past, leading
health economists and public experts have explained the gap between the low
share of the GDP spent on healthcare here and the relatively high health
statistics – at least partially – by considering a variety of factors, including
nearby family support, short distances to reach hospitals, genes, relatively low
consumption of alcohol, education levels, circumcision and even levels of