Kahlon Seeks to Expand Home Hospitilizations

Ashkelon Barzilai Hospital. (Flash90)

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is proposing a plan that will increase the use of home hospitalization in Israel. At an event in Kiryat Ono, Kahlon said that “anyone who does not have to be in the hospital should be able to recuperate at home, and thus reduce the pressure on emergency rooms. We will make adoption of this plan a condition of entering the next government.”

Home hospitalization has become more popular worldwide in recent years, as the cost of treatment rises. Patients who are recovering from an operation or a procedure generally spend much of their time recuperating in bed, and are checked on a regular schedule by doctors and nurses equipped with digital devices that take readings of their conditions. Most of these devices have the capabilities of communicating that data remotely. Patients who are recovering at home are equipped with the devices the utilize sensors that alert care staff if there is a problem, at which point a team can be dispatched to the patient’s home for treatment. Thus the patient gets full care, while recuperating in familiar and comfortable surroundings.

There are other benefits to home hospitalization, Kahlon said. “Home hospitalization reduces the possibility of sepsis, and returns the patient to their home surroundings and reduces pressure on hospitals. Today, 200 people are participating in home hospitalization programs, and we want to increase that number to 2000.” The cost for a day of treatment in the hospital for patients who do not require intensive or active care is NIS 2,600, while home hospitalization costs are less than half of that per day.

Dr. Ze’ev Feldman, chairman of the National Medical Association, said that “home hospitalization as a program is still in its infancy. We approve of the efforts to move in that direction, but it will take many years for the process to mature. For now, we must find a solution to the long lines, the jammed wards, the sepsis and other sanitary issues, the lack of doctors and nurses, and the crowding in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. We cannot allow home hospitalization that will take place in the future to be a fig leaf for failing to deal with the problems of the health system,” he said.

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