Health system ombudsman gets 'teeth'

The Knesset on Wednesday passed an amendment to the National Health Insurance Law, on its final reading, that gives "teeth" to the office of the ombudsman of the health system. The ombudsman, who has for the last decade been Dr. Karni Rubin, deals with complaints about the supply of medications, medical procedures or other matters by residents against their health fund. Under the amendment, if the ombudsman decides that a complaint is justified and the health fund has not carried out her recommendation within 21 days, the complainant may demand that the ombudsman's decision be implemented against the insurer's will. The private member's bill was initiated by National Union MK Aryeh Eldad and had the backing of the Health Ministry.