Treasury denies claim it wants to privatize tipot halav

Yacimovich had said Finance Ministry planning changes on wellbaby clinics.

The Finance Ministry denied on Sunday MK Shelly Yacimovich’s claim that it is working to “privatize” wellbaby clinics (tipot halav), which were initiated by the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization in Jerusalem nearly a century ago and were considered a model of public health services.
Tipat halav clinics give vaccinations, weigh and measure babies, test their hearing and do other procedures to monitor their progress.
The activist Labor MK went a letter of protest to Deputy health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, saying that according to information she had received, the 2011 arrangements bill will include a provision to transfer responsibility for well-baby clinics to the health funds. The previous government had decided that tipat halav clinics would not be privatized.
Yacimovich said that the move would be a way of getting around the High Court of Justice, since the Tel Aviv Municipality had previously petitioned the court to force the state to explain why the municipality should not continue to supply well-baby services. That petition is still pending, even though, in theory, the previous government’s decision rendered it irrelevant.
In some parts of the country, such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the municipalities provide tipat halav services, while the Health Ministry provides them in other places, with the health funds serving about 20 percent of infants and toddlers.
No comment was available from the Health Ministry.
However, the Treasury stated that it has “no intention” of using the arrangements bill to deal with tipat halav clinics in Tel Aviv or elsewhere.
At the same time, the transfer of responsibility to the health funds “is not privatization, because almost all health services are in the hands of the four public health insurers,” the Treasury said.
The Treasury added that in the past, Yacimovich had sponsored a bill to transfer geriatric nursing care from the Health Ministry to the health funds.
The Health Ministry, under heavy pressure from the Treasury, did, however, privatize school health services, which the Health Ministry had previously been responsible for.
A private company that took over control for such services was strongly criticized by the state comptroller for its failures to carry out its responsibilities.
A few months ago, another private company was chosen by tender to replace it.