In principal, nine Israeli hospitals received approval Thursday to purchase – at their own expense – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines.
The green light came from the Knesset Labor, Social Services and Health Committee just before Yesh Atid MK and Health Minister Yael German quit her post after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fired German’s party chairman, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, from his post in the coalition government.
The hospitals were blocked by the Finance Ministry from purchasing the life-saving machines until now, even at their own expense, due to the costs to the HMOs.
Hospitals marked to receive the machines over the next three years include five state-owned medical centers – Wolfson in Holon, Ziv in Tzfat, Hillel Jaffe in Hadera, Poriya in Tiberias and Bnei Zion in Haifa; Emek in Afula, owned by Clalit Health Services and three others to be decided in future.
In September 2010, eight new MRI machines were approved for various hospitals and medical centers around the country as well.
MRI scan is a medical procedure in which human body organs and structures can be viewed using a large magnet and radio waves. The instrument is used most often to scan the brain, spinal cord, chest, abdomen, blood vessels and bones.
It is used to help diagnose various medical conditions and diseases or abnormalities such as tumors, infection, injury or bleeding. But due to the expense involved, an MRI is usually only recommended in Israel only after a problem has been spotted in an X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound scan.
Also approved just before the resignation of the health minister was permission for the purchase of a Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) scanner by the Augusta Victoria hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.
The number of CT machines being used for dentistry around the country, however, are to be limited in order to minimize overexposure to radiation.
Purchase of a nuclear accelerator was also approved for cancer treatment in the center of the country, along with cardiology x-ray machines and special decompression chamber.
Hana Levi Julian