A Growing Number of Israelis are Turning to Private Hospitals


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emergencyA study reveals that a growing number of Israelis are opting for private medical services when possible. The study was conducted by the Health Ministry and it was presented last week to mark 20 years since the state’s public health law.

The study focused on elective surgical procedures which permit one to select a surgeon and venue as opposed to an emergency situation when this is not usually possible. The procedures sampled in the study include the removal of one’s tonsils, joint replacement, thyroid gland surgery, prostate surgery and disc removal. The study shows a significant increase in the number of patients that opted for private medical services instead of the public system. The study reveals the number of elective surgical procedures conducted from 2007-2013 involving private hospitals rose significantly while figures for public hospitals show a slight increase or no increase at all.

One explanation given is the increase in insurance policies that cover the private option for patients.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the health policy of the National Institute for Health Services Research. The conference marked 20 years to the national health insurance law. The law brought many changes in the health care system in Israel, which allows the HMOs to offer additional health services for an extra fee. From there, private health insurance which was once for the wealthy only was now made more affordable to the masses. Following the law and other changes, national expenditure on health services rose considerably over the years. According to the Central Bureau of statistics, in 2013 the private insurance accounted for 11% of the total national expenditure on health, compared to 2 percent in 1995, the year in which the law entered into force, and 5% in 2000.

Increase in hospital admissions for persons 65 and older

Another study presented at the conference shed light on the status of the healthcare system during the era of the law and it measured changes in the number of hospital admissions among persons 65 and old during the last two decades. Researches documented an increase in admissions to private hospitals since the law took effect.

According to the results of the study, which was based on reports from kupot cholim; 81% of Maccabi HMO members admitted to hospitals in 2013 from the relevant age group were in private hospitals as compared with only 16% admitted to public hospitals.

In 2007 for comparison sake, only 74% of the relevant age group was admitted to private hospital as compared to 13% in public hospitals.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)