The Nursing Care Reform Is Urgently Needed

The Coalition for Including Nursing Care in the Healthcare Basket:

Pensioners of the Jerusalem Municipality • Independent Pensioners of Ashdod • Union of Self Help Organizings • Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) • Association for Patient Rights • Law in the Service of the Elderly • Union of Pensioners in Israel • Bar-Ilan University Legal Clinic for the Elderly and for Holocaust Survivors • Ken LaZaken – Promoting Seniors Rights • Ne’eman Association • Parkinson Association • Physicians for Human Rights – Israel • Pensioners Lobby Haifa

Tomorrow (3 July 2012), the Knesset will hold a conference to discuss the reform in nursing care and hospitalization – to be attended by Deputy Health Minister Yaacov Litzman, Members of Knesset, healthcare professionals, and social rights activists.
The Ministry of Health and Deputy Minister Litzman are currently struggling to promote the reform in nursing care and hospitalization. This reform provides an answer, even if not a perfect one, to the main shortcomings of the nursing system, and it could dramatically improve the current situation that constitutes an ongoing injury to the population of persons in need of nursing care in Israel.
One in five seniors in Israel is in need of nursing and the number of seniors that need nursing benefits has recently reached 140,000 people. There are 20,000 more elderly persons hospitalized in nursing facilities. Despite the fact that this is an essential medical need that touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, the issue of nursing care was never established as part of the free services provided in the healthcare basket, and those in need of it are forced to move between several different systems – the Ministry of Health, the health funds, the National Insurance Institute, and the Welfare Ministry – with each one of these providing only partial coverage of the treatment and hospitalization costs.
This is a complicated bureaucratic system and many of those who need it are unaware of what they are entitled to or to whom they should turn, and often give up on even trying. Those who have no choice but to turn to the authorities for assistance find themselves directed from one office to the other – and sometimes the elderly person dies before the assistance is provided.
The Coalition for Including Nursing Care in the Healthcare Basket has been working in the past two years to ensure the equal right to nursing care for every person according to their needs – through a public system that will place the patient and the patient’s dignity in the center. The Coalition promoted a Knesset bill to include nursing care in the healthcare basket, with the help of former MK Haim Oron. The bill passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset about a year ago, with the support of Deputy Health Minister Litzman, who following that decided to initiate the reform in nursing care and hospitalization.
Tomorrow’s Knesset conference on this subject was initiated by MK Isaac Herzog, Chair of the Seniors Lobby, and by MK Nitzan Horowitz, Chair of the Committee on Migrant Workers, together with the Coalition for Including Nursing Care in the Healthcare Basket. The conference will examine the shortcomings of the nursing care system as it is today, including testimonies by elderly persons and their families, and will present the main points of the nursing reform that is promoted by the Ministry of Health.

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Categories: Disability Rights, Social and Economic Rights, The Right to Health

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