Knesset committee hears conflicting voices on whether mental health reform is succeeding

Deputy Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman promised on Tuesday that mental health professionals would not be dismissed as part of the psychiatric reform that was launched on July 1. The reform transferred responsibility for mental health treatment from the ministry’s hands to those of the four health funds.
Litzman said in the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee that his office has been “carefully following” implementation of the reform since it began and “correcting any problems in real time. We intend to have the health funds open additional mental health clinics and expand services,” he promised. “There is no strangulation of budgets for existing services; we will ensure patients’ privacy, and money that we allocated for psychiatric services will not be swallowed up by other services.”
Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said that the reform, which has been waiting decades for implementation after a state commission recommended it, “is one of the most complicated to carry out in any system. We are aware of its sensitivity. Any person who needs treatment for emotional distress will receive it.”
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