The Mental Health Reform, Ministry of Health
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Mental Health Reform

The Mental Health Reform

General background to the reform

The National Health Insurance Law was enacted in 1994 and made three major changes:
  • It regulated the right of residents and citizens of the State to receive health services.
  • It defined the health services basket.
  • It transferred responsibility for most health services to the Health Funds.  

At the time of its enactment, mental health services, geriatrics and preventative medicine were outside the basket of services for which the Health Funds were responsible. 

On 30.5.2012, the Deputy Health Minister, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, signed a government order which, true to the original intention of the National Health Insurance Law, transferred responsibility for the provision of mental health services to the Health Funds. 

On 1.7.2015 the reform came into force whereby sole insurance responsibility for providing mental health services was transferred from the Ministry of Health to the Health Funds. The significance of this development was the fusion of mental and physical health care and the creation of a single address for the provision of these services, that is, the Health Funds. 

Objective of the reform

The purpose of the mental health reform was to enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of mental health services in Israel. Dozens of mental health clinics have been opened throughout the country, the options for treatment by various professionals have increased, clinic opening hours have been extended and treatment waiting times have been reduced. Since entitlement to mental health care is now included in the health basket, it is provided to all citizens at the minimum cost of a quarterly excess or gratuitously (as is the case with all other areas of general medicine).  

Alongside an improvement in quality of service, the reform is also expected to make a significant contribution to diminishing the social stigma suffered by those contending with emotional distress in Israel. The integration of mental health treatments within the framework of general professional clinics and the accessibility of the service to the general population, are expected to reduce the labeling of those in the community contending with psychological distress as "mentally ill", strengthen public awareness of the subject and ease the integration into the community of persons suffering with psychological problems.

And it should be emphasized, that even though responsibility for providing mental health services has been transferred to the Health Funds, the Ministry of Health shall continue to inspect and supervise the Health Funds in order to ensure that professional and quality treatment is being provided to all Israeli citizens. 

What is the Mental Health Reform?

The mental health reform addresses the responsibility for funding the services rather than the actual right in itself to receive them. Until June 2015, the Ministry of Health was responsible for funding the services. In common with the provision of any other medical service, such as a family doctor or additional services, since July 2015 the Health Funds have been responsible for financing the provision of mental health services in Israel. 

Even after the reform, it is possible to continue to receive mental health services at government clinics. 

Who is entitled to receive mental health treatment?

Should he so wish, any citizen/resident, regardless of his age, is entitled to receive mental health services. 

Who do I turn to in order to receive the treatment?

Mental health care is provided at the mental health clinics operated by the Health Funds, the Ministry of Health and other organizations. In order to receive mental health care, the matter should be taken up with the relevant health fund and information obtained regarding the proposed treatment options. 

Extensive information about the reform may be obtained from "Questions and Answers – The Mental Health Reform"

Additionally, the public is invited to ask additional questions connected to the reform.

We invite all citizens of Israel wishing to receive mental health care to contact the Health Funds and to receive from them the particular treatment which they require.  
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Mental Health Clinics

 

Where can additional information be obtained?

 

  • At the mental health clinic in the area where you live.
  • From the family physician at the HMO (kupat cholim).
  • At the Ministry of Health website and at the “Health Voice“ call center *5400.
  • At the HMO (kupat cholim) websites and call centers: