Your Place in Line: Waiting Times in Israel’s Public Hospitals
Author: Liora Bowers and Dov Chernichovsky Policy Briefs

Patients in Israel face disparities in waiting times for medical care based on the location of the hospital (periphery versus center), hospital ownership (government, Clalit Health Services, or non-profit institutions) and payment type (public versus private).

Patients in Israel face disparities in waiting times for medical care based on the location of the hospital (periphery versus center), hospital ownership (government, Clalit Health Services, or non-profit institutions) and payment type (public versus private). These gaps demonstrate to a great extent the challenges facing the Israeli health system.  This study will discuss several possible options for improving the waiting times situation in the country.

The National Health Insurance Law provides that every resident is entitled to receive healthcare within a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable distance. However, these have never been defined. As such, a key challenge for policymakers is defining what constitutes reasonable distance and waiting times given that different circumstances lead to differing perceptions regarding appropriate waiting times. Additional challenges include developing methods for the acceptable, transparent measurement of waiting times for public care, designing a delivery system that meets waiting time benchmarks and developing incentives or penalties to reach such targets.

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