MRI machine [illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
At the last minute before Yesh Atid MK Yael German left her post as health minister, the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee gave nine hospitals permission to purchase at their own expense magnetic resonance instruments (MRIs) for diagnosing patients with a variety of diseases.
Even though the Treasury doesn’t pay for the expensive, life-saving devices, it has prevented hospitals from purchasing additional MRIs, because their availability means more tests and higher costs for the health funds. The Finance Ministry had continued to hold back permission despite the fact that Israel has had the lowest rate of MRIs in the OECD countries.
After agreement was reached between committee chairman MK Haim Katz and the Treasury, it was agreed on Thursday to allow nine hospitals to purchase MRIs gradually over the next three years. The hospitals are Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Hillel Jaffe in Hadera, Poriya in Tiberias, Bnei Zion in Haifa (all five state-owned hospitals) and Emek Medical Center in Afula (owned by Clalit Health Services), as well as three more that will be decided in the future.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who was fired by the prime minister, and German, who resigned soon after, signed their approval before the Knesset disbands. The hospitals will have to raise contributions, mostly abroad, to pay for the multimillion-dollar MRIs.
It was also decided that the Palestinian-owned Augusta Victoria hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem will be able to purchase a Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) scanner to provide medical services unavailable there, and in the center of the country, hospitals will be able to purchase another nuclear accelerator for cancer treatment, cardiological xray machines and a high-pressure compartment. It was also decided to limit the number of CT devices for dentistry in various parts of the country due to the fear of overexposure to radiation.