BEGINNINGS | HEALTH SERVICES | MED. RESEARCH | HEALTH PROBLEMS | SHARING | SOCIAL SERVICES | SOCIAL INSURANCE | VOLUNTARISM
Responsibility for all health services lies with the Ministry of Health, which prepares legislation and oversees its implementation, controls medical standards nationwide, maintains food and drug quality standards, licenses medical personnel, promotes medical research, evaluates health services, and supervises the planning and construction of hospitals. The ministry also acts as a public health agency for environmental and preventive medicine.
Israel’s approximately 32,000 physicians, 9,000 dentists, and 6,000 pharmacists pursue their professions as members of hospital staffs and neighborhood clinics as well as in private practice. About 72 percent of the country’s 54,000 nurses are registered, while the rest are practical nurses.
Training for medical professions is offered at four medical schools, two schools of dentistry, two of pharmacology, and 15 nursing schools, seven of which grant academic degrees. Courses for physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and nutritionists, as well as for X-ray and laboratory technicians, are available at a number of institutions.
Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical service, provides a network of first aid stations, a nationwide blood donor program, blood banks, first aid courses, and a public ambulance service, which includes mobile intensive care units. The organization functions with the help of some 10,000 volunteers, many of them high school students, who serve at 109 stations throughout the country.
The National Insurance Law provides for a standardized basket of medical services, including hospitalization, for all residents of Israel. Medical services are supplied by the country’s four comprehensive health insurance schemes, which must accept all applicants regardless of age or state of health.
The main sources of funding are a monthly health insurance tax of up to 4.8 percent of income, collected by the National Insurance Institute, and employer participation in the cost of insurance for their employees. The insurance schemes are reimbursed according to a weighted average number of insured persons, calculated by age, distance of home from a health facility, and other criteria determined by the Ministry of Health.