An additional or second medical opinion is when a patient requests that another doctor give his/her professional opinion based on medical documentation and a physical examination of the patient. For patients undergoing surgery or medical treatment, a second medical opinion can be helpful in making a decision and/or giving them and their family confidence regarding a decision which has been made.
Who is Eligible?
- All patients.
How to Claim It?
- Patients are entitled to obtain a second opinion regarding their treatment, at their own initiative. Patients must present all medical information including tests and photos to the doctor providing the second opinion, in order to achieve the most accurate assessment. All patients are entitled to receive information from the medical record. For more information, see: Obtaining Information from the Medical Record.
- When a patient asks for an additional professional opinion, the treating medical professional and the medical facility must help them obtain it, to the extent required. This assistance may be in the form of providing information regarding relevant specialists, coordinating consultative appointments, allowing specialists to come examine a hospitalized patient, allowing specialists access to the medical record and providing other information, among other things.
- Hospitalized patients are entitled to request to see an out-of-house specialist. Some senior physicians only agree to come with the approval of the head of the department. Also, some hospitals insist that second opinions must be coordinated through the treating medical staff.
- The treating medical professional is not obligated to obtain a second opinion for the patient.
- The patient's right does not include a second opinion at no cost.
- The health plans cover some of the expenses of consulting with senior physicians in Israel, and sometimes, with health plan approval, even consulting physicians abroad.
- Sometimes, in order to acquire an independent additional opinion, it is recommended to consult with a physician from a different healthcare facility/system (i.e. from a hospital different than the one in which the patient is being treated).
- Clalit Mushlam policyholders - Entitled to receive 3 reimbursements per year for additional medical opinions. Patients may choose from 3,000 physicians meeting the health plan's criteria. The health plan covers 80% of the consultation up to 575 NIS. For more information, see the Clalit website.
- Maccabi policyholders - Entitled to consult with a senior medical specialist from a list of physicians. Magen Zahav policyholders are entitled to a reimbursement of 80% up to 639 NIS for up to 3 consultations per membership year. For information, see the Maccabi website.
- Meuhedet Adif policyholders - Entitled to consult with a medical specialist from a list of specialists. Entitlement is 85% of consultation costs up to 553 NIS. For more information, see the Meuhedet Adif English pamphlet.
- Leumit policyholders - Entitlement to a consultation with any medical specialist. Leumit Zahav policyholders are entitled to an 80% reimbursement up to 630 NIS (3 consultations per year + a consultation with a pediatrician). Leumit Kesef policyholders are entitled to an 80% reimbursement up to 573 NIS (one consultation + a consultation with a specialist in pediatrics). For more information, see Leumit's English website for additional medical services.
- For a comprehensive categorized listing of healthcare organizations offering assistance and support, click here.
- Yad Sarah runs the "Merkaz Daat" - a medical information center.
- The Ministry of Health
- "Kol HaBriut" - The Ministry of Health's call center *5400
- The National Health Insurance Law Ombudsman
- The National Insurance Institute
Laws and Regulations
- The Patient's Rights Law
- Ministry of Health Director Circular 09/2006 from 3.4.06 - Patient Bill of Rights from the perspective of the treating medical care provider.
- Amnon Carmi, Health and Law (2003)
- Original information written by the IMA.
- English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.