50% more funds allocated to 2017 health basket

While more than 700 new technologies will be considered for addition to the basket, costs allow only a minority to be accepted.

A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A doctor stands with stethoscope in this undated handout photo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Health Minister MK Ya’acov Litzman appointed on Thursday the public committee of volunteer experts who will comprise the committee that recommends by the end of December what drugs and other medical technologies to add to the 2017 basket of health services.
The committee will be headed for the fourth time by Shaare Zedek Medical Center director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy, who previously held the unpaid office for three years and was followed for one year by Rambam Medical Center director-general Prof. Rafael Beyar, who was not asked by Litzman to do it for another year.
Fortunately for the committee, after more than half-a-dozen years when the amount to be added for the basket has remained steady -- and its value severely eroded --  at NIS 300 million, the Treasury has allocated 50% more. Halevy said Litzman told him when formally suggesting the job that it would grow by “to at least NIS 450 million,” plus another NIS 40 million for expanding dental coverage for teens.
Halevy, who has directed the Jerusalem medical center for nearly three decades, told The Jerusalem Post that chairing the “basket committee” was one of the most challenging and interesting -- albeit demanding -- jobs that he had ever done from its medical, administrative, public, social and ethical issues. The Jerusalem physician and medical administrator told Litzman “immediately” that he agreed, even though it demands much time that he would otherwise spend running SZMC. “I was very surprised he asked me again, and it was very complimentary.” Halevy added.
The first formal meeting will be held at the ministry on Sunday, and the working sessions will begin after the Jewish festivals end. The committee, whose recommendations on medical technology priorities have always been accepted by the health and finance ministers that formally appoint it, will again have Dr. Osnat Luxembourg -- head of the  ministry’s medical technologies and infrastructure administration -- as the coordinator.
Other members include senior representatives of the health funds; Hadassah University Medical Center senior hematologist Prof. Dina Ben-Yehuda; Dr. Talia Golan, a senior oncological gastroenterologist at Sheba Medical Center; Health Ministry deputy director-general Iris Ginsburg; Sheba cardiologist Prof. Michael Glickson; retired district court judge Hila Grestel; dentist and environmental activist Dr. Gershon Horovitz; Treasury official Noa Heiman; Leumit Health Services senior physician Prof. Shlomo Vinker; bioethicist Prof. Ruth Landau; Tel Aviv Sourasky anesthesiologist Prof. Idit Matot; Tel Aviv hevra kadisha director Rabbi Avraham Manela; Israel Lands Administration lawyer Ya’acov Quint;  Treasury budgets official Ran Reidnick; Health Ministry accountant Yair Aseraf; and educator Dr. Dalia Fadila.
Over 700 different new technologies have been registered as applicants for joining the basket, but only a minority can be accepted due to the budget limitations. The ministry's medical technologies and infrastructure administration, will again serve as the group’s coordinator this year.