Health Ministry ‘welcomes’ health fund performance data

Ministry had refused to provide information on which of the health funds provides best service but changes tune after court ruling.

Meuhedet 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Meuhedet 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Health Ministry last night “welcomed” Tuesday’s ruling by the Jerusalem District Court that ministry officials will have to publicize which of the health funds provide the best services according to an objective comparison of data.
The court’s decision ends four years of legal action by the Movement for the Freedom of Information, which battled against the ministry for refusing to provide such information.
“The ministry is acting to apply with suitable care the necessary data on the four health funds,” its spokeswoman said. “The time has come for Israel’s good health system to step ahead in the presenting of quality results in medical institutions.”
Comparative data must be provided to the public starting in April 2012. Currently, health funds may voluntarily supply their own data on meeting healthcare standards, but in less than a year, the ministry must do so objectively so that consumers and patients can decisions on the basis of reliable information.
Among the data will be which health fund performs more vaccinations, their members’ rates of preventable diseases, amount of effective health promotion and tests, the quality of treatment and where more patients die.
The ministry has long opposed mandatory reporting of this data out of fear that it would be misunderstood by the public, who would not appreciate the fact that hospitals that handle more difficult cases and therefore where more die would be labeled as having lower quality.
The ministry also thought government hospitals that it owns might be criticized as a result of comparative data.
Some hospital directors pressed the ministry to oppose the publishing of comparative data so as not to look bad.