New panel to update health basket for 2010

The members of a new public committee forrecommending the expansion for 2010 of the basket of health servicessupplied by the health funds was announced by Deputy Health MinisterYa'acov Litzman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Tuesday night.The committee will be chaired by Rambam Medical Center director-generalProf. Rafi Beyar, a leading interventional cardiologist.

Thecommittee, which includes many new members who did not serve in theprevious committee of volunteers (which was appointed by former healthminister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri) will make their recommendations by the endof December. The committee, whose size has been reduced somewhat toincrease efficiency, will have some NIS 430 million worth of drugs andother medical technologies to prioritize and recommend from among morethan NIS 1 billion worth that have been presented by theirmanufacturers and importers for inclusion.

Dr. Osnat Luxenburg, the head of the Health Ministry's medical technologies branch, will coordinate the committee's work.

The members are Prof. Ehud Grossman, Prof. Danny Stessman, Dr.Ze'ev Aharonson, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, Iris Ginzburg, Prof. DanielVardi, Dr. Bracha Zisser, Prof. Elliot Berry, Dr. Roni Gamzu, Prof.Haim Bitterman, Yoel Lipschitz, Prof. Moshe Mittelman, Nurit Dabush,Prof. Avi Porat, Ilan Sofer and Rabbi Moshe Haim Lau. The health systemombudswoman, Etti Semama, is the committee's adviser.

Litzman said he decided to announce the names justbefore the intensive committee sessions begin to reduce pressure on themembers by drug and technology companies that want their products addedto the basket. He added that he was sure the committee would take intoaccount all the medical, ethical and social considerations involved inchoosing which additions will be made to the basket and provided topatients at minimal cost.