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Medical Tourism - Destination - Israel

General Informations

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Israel
Location It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, the Gaza Strip and Egypt on the southwest
Capital Jerusalem
Biggest cities (population) Ramla (1,770,200), Nathareth (1,242,100), Tel Aviv (1,227,000)
Inhabitants 7,515,400
Politics Parliamentary democracy
Religion 76.2% Jewish, 16.1% Muslim, 2.1% Christian, and 1.6% Druze, with the remaining 4.0% not classified by religion.
Currency Shekel
GDP 2009 estimate $194.825 billion
Official language(s) Hebrew, Arabic
Climate Mediterranean, with average highs of 33 °C and average lows of 6°C
Time zone GMT+ 8
Happy Planet Index (HPI) 67

Cultural Aspects

General Culture

Israel’s diverse culture stems from the diversity of the population: Jews from around the world have brought their cultural and religious traditions with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs. Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Israel’s substantial Arab minority has also left its imprint on Israeli culture in such spheres as architecture, music and cuisine.

Safety

With regard to safety, Israel ranks 144 in the GPI out of 149 countries. This means that Israel’s levels of violence and crime within the country and its external affairs such as military expenditure and wars are very high.

Tourists Attractions and Sights

  • Jerusalem: one of the world’s great holy cities, full with history and spirituality.
  • Nazareth: stomping ground of a young Jesus and now an Arab city of winding lanes and archaic churches.
  • The Galilee: spectacular lake with much Christian history attached to it, best seen by bicycle.
  • Tel Aviv: pulsating metropolis of all-night discos and sophisticated restaurants.
  • Akko: walled city of crusading knights, jail breaks, secret tunnels and sea views.
  • Dead Sea: the Sea with highest concentration of salt and minerals in the world, which has many therapeutic benefits.

Visa Requirements

Israel has made arrangements and agreements with 65 countries whereby citizens from these countries will no longer require a visa to enter Israel. The only requirement is a valid passport. Most African, Asian and Arab countries need to apply for a visa through the Israeli embassy in their country.

Infrastructure

Transportation

The importance of trains, especially in passenger transportation is overshadowed by the government-owned Egged bus company, which operates the second largest bus system in the world after Greyhound, based in the United States of America.

Rail services serve Haifa and Ashdod seaports and extend to Eilat port. Haifa and Ashdod, both situated at the Mediterranean Sea coast are the main seaports in Israel. Eilat’s port is Israel’s gateway to the Red Sea.

There are 2 international airports in Israel, Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport and Eilat airport. Plans to merge the airports of Eilat and the neighbouring Jordanian city airport of Aqaba did not materialise. An international airport in the Gaza strip operates since 2000, although currently operations are largely dysfunctional due to security problems.

Accommodation

There is a large variety of lodging in Israel ranging from five star hotels to youth hostels. Hotels are located throughout the country and offer convenient and comfortable accommodation. There are also boutique hotels that are designed to the smallest detail to make the vacation even more festive and special. Spa hotels offer guests luxury such as massages and treatment. Guestrooms or bed and breakfast accommodations in the mountains or the countryside are also available. There are youth hostels and field schools. Christian hostels and monasteries offer visitors another type of spiritual experience. The main hotel chains present are: Intercontinental, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Golden Tulip, Marriott Hotels and Resorts.

Health Care System

WHO ranking 28
Physicians per 10,000 population 36
Nurses per 10,000 population 61
GDP spent on health care 8%
Education period of doctors 6 years
Education period of specialists Not available

Health Care Providers

Providers in the Israeli healthcare system consist of a mixture of private, semi-private and public entities. Generally, family and primary medicine facilities are run directly by Clalit (which is one of Israel’s leading health service organisations) for its members while the other HMOs (health maintenance organisations) operate their own family practice clinics in the larger cities and contract with privately operated family practice clinics in smaller communities. As with primary practice, Clalit tends to provide specialty and outpatient care in their own clinics, while the other HMOs generally have contracts with external companies, private care physicians and facilities for this sort of service. In addition to these, the ministry of health in conjunction with various local authorities also runs a network of public health care and prenatal and infant care clinics throughout the country. A few of the hospitals in Israel are fully private. However, most are public and operated by the ministry of health, or Clalit.

Insurance

Healthcare insurance in Israel is both universal and compulsory, and is administered by a small number of organisations with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless which organisation they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means.

There is a second layer in the system, comprising regulated complementary insurance in which individuals pay extra contributions for an augmented package. Around 80% of households have complimentary insurance, and around 20% are signed up for purely private health insurance.

Top Facilities

Israel has 3 JCI accredited hospitals. These were taken from the JCI homepage and are the following:

  • Ha EMEK Medical Center
  • Meir Medical Center
  • Soroka University Medical Center

General Medical Tourism Information

In 2006, 15,000 foreigners travelled to Israel for medical procedures, bringing in $40 million of revenue. The advantages of Israel for health tourism include good natural resources; stable and comfortable climate all year round; a progressive medical system, and scenic locations which have a calming effect on patients. Medical tourists favour Israel for several reasons. Some come from European nations, e.g. Romania, where certain procedures are not available. Others come to Israel, especially US Americans, to receive quality healthcare at reduced cost, such as, surgery and in-vitro fertilisation treatment. (E.g. a US patient without health insurance would spend approx. $120,000 in the USA versus approx. $30,000 in Israel for bypass surgery).

Others come to Israel to visit the Dead Sea, a world-famous therapeutic location, especially for dermatological diseases. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism and various medical service providers focus on generating awareness of Israel’s medical capabilities.

Steams

Patients from all over the world are travelling to Israel for medical treatment, from countries such as France and Germany in Europe, and Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq as well as from the USA. The exact per cent distribution is unknown.

Reasons

  • Cost savings
  • Good natural resources: Dead Sea health effects
  • Stable, comfortable climate all year round
  • Scenic locations which have a calming effect on patients

Spezialisation

  • Oncology
  • Cardiac care
  • Urology
  • Trauma treatment
  • In-vitro fertilisation treatment

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Israel hosts some of the most highly qualifi ed and experienced doctors and surgeons in the world
  • The presence and availability of sophisticated medical technology, some of which were developed and perfected in Israel
  • The leading hospitals offer world-class medical facilities and equipment
  • The costs of medical treatment in Israel are relatively low
  • English and Russian are widely spoken by medical personnel
  • No visa needed for 65 countries that have an agreement with the Israel government
  • Dead Sea as a therapeutic resort
  • Prices of medical procedures are high compared to medical tourism destinations such as Asia and South America
  • The on-going confl ict with Palestine and other Arab countries is a cause of concern for tourists coming to Israel
  • Service level at public hospitals is poor.
  • Private rooms are scarce and the nurse/patient ratio is low compared to other medical tourism destinations

Conclusion

Israel is becoming a popular destination for medical tourists in the Middle East. In 2006 Israel received 15,000 medical tourists, bringing $ 40 million revenue to the country. The incoming countries are France, Germany, Romania, Jordan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq and the USA. The costs of medical treatment are relatively low compared to other countries. The ongoing conflict with Palestine and other Arab countries is a cause of concern for inbound tourists. In addition, the service level at public hospitals is poor, private rooms are scarce and the nurse/patient ratio is low compared to other medical tourism destinations in Asia.

Top Facility Chart

Israel Ha EMEK Medical Center Meir Medical Center Soroka University Medical Center
Location and website Afula http://www.clalit.org.il/ haemek/ Kefar-Saba http://www.clalit.org.il/meir/ http://www.meir-hospital.com/ eng/ Beer Sheva http://www.soroka.org/ http://www.clalit.org.il/soroka/
Accreditations or certifications JCI JCI JCI
Capacity of hospital beds > 500 beds 817 beds > 1000 beds
Possible for accompanying person to stay in room yes No, but assistance with accommodation yes
Medical tourists Yes US and Europe US
Number of medical staff doctors/nurses > 1100 Physicians, nurses and academics 2357 physicians and nurses 700 physicians and 1500 nurses
Type of rooms available (prices) N/A N/A Private and semi-private suites
International patient department Yes, International Patient & public relations offi ce, Offi ce of Medical Tourism Yes, they organise all the arrangements No
Adaptations to cultures Yes, in food and religious habits Yes, in food and religious habits Yes, in food
Languages spoken by staff English, Hebrew English, Hebrew English, Hebrew
Marketing of the facility/USP Israel's Emek Medical Center is the 1st hospital of Clalit Health Services,1st in Israel's quest for Coexistence Through Medicine and the major medical centre for North-eastern Israel. No. 1 sport hospital in Israel, the best hospital in Israel 2007-2010. Working together with US and European counterparts. Use advance of medical technology. Cooperation with the Soroka medical centre in the United states of American.
Specialisations Trauma and emergency Gastroenterology, oncology, nephrology and radioisotope medicine Trauma, emergency and delivery

Price Chart (in €uro)

Treatment Average price in Euro
Cardiac bypass 19,600
Gastric bypass N/A
Knee replacement 17,800
Hip replacement 26,700
Hip resurfacing N/A
Botox treatment 285
Breast augmentation 2,700
Facelift 5,000
Liposuction 1,800
Dental implants 890
Rhinoplasty 3,200
Lasik eye surgery per eye 700