A Pittsburgh Jewish organization and an Israeli think tank will collaborate on a study that could lead to new ways to integrate delivery of health care services in the United States.
A mission of local and national health care officials, including staff and board members from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, recently returned from a six- day trip to Israel where, among other stops, they met with members of the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute — an Israel-based center of social science and public policy research and development.
According to Chief Communications Officer Cliff Shannon, Myers and the JHF agreed to cooperate on drafting monographs that describe what can be taken from the Israeli health care system and applied to the American model.
“What we discovered in Israel was how integrated health care in Israel enables delivery of a demonstrably high quality of care across most of the measure you would think are important,” Shannon said. He cited infant mortality and life expectancy as two areas of interest.
JHF Chief Executive Officer Karen Wolk Feinstein said the project will specifically study four health plans in Israel that have had success with integrating health care services.
Those systems are Chalit and Maccabi – the two largest of the four — and Leumit and Meuhedet. These programs are often referred to as Israel’s public “Sick Funds.”
Feinstein anticipates that JHF and Myers will share the cost of the study.
“They (the Israelis) are struggling with a lot of the things we are — in the health care field,” Feinstein said, “but in some ways they’re ahead of us.”
Israel integrates its health care services while spending substantially less per capita on health care than in the United States, Shannon said.
In addition to meeting Myers officials, the mission visited Karmiel, Safed, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The mission corresponded with the 18th anniversary of the JHF. Feinstein and JHF Board Chair Patricia Siger led the mission.
They met with officials from JDC’s YUVAL program, which trains emergency personnel; Kishorit Village, a community of adults with special needs; Tel Aviv-based Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest HMO; and JDC-ESHEL, the association for planning and development of services for the aged.
Among the mission participants were Dr. Donald Fischer, chief medical officer at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield; Dr. Linda Emanuel, director of the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine; Mildred Morrison, administrator for Area Agency on Aging in Allegheny County; Marge Petruska from The Heinz Endowments; Dr. Steve Raab, director of anatomic pathology at the University of Colorado Hospital; and Diana Bucco, president of the Forbes Funds.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)