Family health centers in Israel: To change or not to be

J. Urkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


As reported in this issue, the Ministry of Health Family Health Centers (FHC) in Israel is not fulfilling some of the requirements of the Ministry of Health. For example, hemoglobin levels are not checked in all of the babies and at least 31% of the babies do not receive supplemental iron. Universal neonatal screening for hearing loss by objective methods is not conducted nor recommended by the Ministry of Health, as advised by pediatric professional organizations, while screening for hearing loss is conducted in the second half of the first year by a method which is not currently recommended. FHC physicians conduct initial screening for suspected developmental dysplasia for only some of the children, while too many children go directly to the orthopedic specialist. Previous studies have shown that only 20% of Jewish women residing in larger townships in Israel use the FHC for prenatal care. Based on all the above the government policy makers are facing hard decisions regarding FHC services. One option is to transfer all services to the health maintenance organizations. A second option is to maintain the FHC with the following modifications: 1) revise and update the health management guidelines to meet universal recommendations 2) improve compliance to guidelines 3) improve outreach and acceptance by the public of the services of the FHC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-875
Number of pages3
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004


  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip
  • Hearing loss
  • Neonatal screening
  • Prenatal care
  • Well baby care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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