To cut red tape and speed the transfer of the medical files of patients who switch from one health fund to another, the Knesset Health Committee will unify private member bills with a proposal by the government.
Such a bill was presented by Shas MK Yonatan Mashriki, the committee chairman, and Yesh Atid MK Ron Katz, who stated that until now, those who wanted to switch health insurers had to undergo tests that were already done by their previous health fund.
Katz said that senior Health Ministry officials all support the proposal, and he demanded that the health funds ease the transfer of medical files by clicking an icon on the computer. The cost of repetitive tests is very high, he added.
The National Health Insurance Law allows any Israeli to cancel his or her membership in a health fund and register with another insurer up to a specific date a few times a year. Speedy transfer of files would not only save money but also increase competition among them.
For now, the medical file remains in the previous fund, and even if the insured already applies individually to request the medical file, the health funds operate in an outdated practice, transferring the information in a printed and inaccessible format that doesn’t allow the use of the information and its processing in an optimal way.
New law would mandate automatic file transfer
The new law would establish a clear and explicit provision that requires the four public health funds to transfer the insured person’s medical file to the receiving fund until the time of its transfer – without the need for an explicit request from the member. This is possible with the press of a key and without any budget expenditure.
According to Lior Barak, the deputy director in charge of the health funds at the Health Ministry, the government bill is even broader in this matter and includes the transfer of information between hospitals and private providers, such as imaging and dialysis providers. He suggested waiting for the government proposal so as not to create double adjustments.
Barak said that it was already possible to automatically transfer the information between the Clalit and Maccabi health services and that the process will soon be activated at Meuhedet and Leumit as well. Yoel Ben-Or, director of the policy department at the ministry, said that the government law on the matter is currently being drafted and that the “Eitan” system currently allows some information to be transferred between the health funds and the hospitals. The information can only be read but not yet copied and assimilated.
Alon Sion, the legal advisor in the national cyber system, said they would supervise the implementation of the law and verify the security of the medical data.