Implementation of the Mental Health Care Reform began in Israel on July 1, 2015.
Mental health care is a fundamental human right for all people, including persons with disabilities (PWDs). Unfortunately, many PWDs are denied access to knowledge of or resources for mental health in Israel. But the recent Reform by the State makes such access slightly easier; the Reform shifts responsibility for funding and providing mental healthcare from the Ministry of Health to the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and definitively puts an end to the arbitrary distinction between people in need of mental healthcare and those in need of general healthcare.
Highlightsof the Mental Health Reform:
· Mental health services are now provided and/or funded by the kupot cholim.
· Basic services include psychiatric hospitalization services; clinic-based services such as diagnosis, assessment, counseling, crisis intervention, personal, family or group treatment, follow-up and maintenance; and day treatment at a clinic
· Regardless of age, any resident or citizen of Israel is entitled to receive these services, as per the recommendation of a medical professional. Treatment will be given in accordance with need.
· If you have already been receiving mental health treatment, you should continue going to the same provider. Private information about your diagnosis and previous treatment will be transferred confidentially to your kupat cholim, with your permission. This is done in order to help your family physician achieve optimal outcomes when treating your total health.
· Information regarding how to seek and receive mental health treatment is provided by your respective kupat cholim. Either ask your family doctor, or call the moked (call center) of your kupat cholim. This process works the same way even with an individual who is currently in a rehabilitative framework.
· In the event of mental distress that requires immediate care, you may go to a psychiatric emergency room at no charge, when your family physician or treatment provider is not available. Every mental health center has a 24 hour emergency room, and no referral is needed. You can also proceed to the emergency room of a general hospital, where psychiatric consultants are on duty.
In order to implement quality control of the professional mental health services provided by the kupot cholim, supervision and monitoring will be conducted by the Mental Health Division of the Ministry of Health. If the kupat cholim is overburdened, there may be a wait period until treatment is received. However, the Ministry of Health plans to oversee that waiting times are reasonable.