Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Israel Delivers Top-Notch Family Medical Care

Primary Services

An article in The National Post says Israel's health-care system is both effective and efficient, while spending less than many other OECD nations on providing care.
The Jewish state spends just eight percent of GDP on healthcare and offers universal access through one of three HMOs. All conditions, including pre-existing conditions, are covered, although some medicines must be purchased privately. Israelis pay a health tax as part of income tax in exchange for coverage.“Israel has an excellent family health care system and that is a very good point,” Francesca Colombo, a senior health policy analyst and one of the report’s authors told The Media Line. “It has universal access and low spending which is an achievement.”
One successful institution is a network of well-baby neighborhood clinics where newborns are given immunizations and other services. Some medical services such as eye tests are also provided in schools.The report cites the example of adult diabetes. The country has the same rate of diabetes–6.5 percent of the adult population–as many other OECD countries, yet it has the second lowest rate of hospitalization for diabetes that has not been properly controlled.
“There is a pioneering system of using 40 indicators to monitor the quality of primary care since everyone here is involved in one of the HMO’s,” Dr. Bruce Rosen, the Director of the Smokler Center for Health Policy Research at the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Brookdale Institute. “Israel has one of the highest longevity rates in the world for men and one of the highest for women.”
It brings to mind the old adage doing more with less. In other words, a nation can deliver high-level medical care at a reasonable cost if it knows what its primary and secondary goals are and it can keep those in mind; I would think that primary care and preventative medicine would be two of the top goals today.

I would sense such an approach might depend on having doctors with the requisite skills and training, and a good follow-up system. This is something that is not always done in the strict confines of the North American medical system, including my home nation of Canada, which does have universal medicare, at least in principal if not practice.

You can read the rest of the article at [National Post]