Gaucher's disease is a hereditary disease in which there is a decrease in the activity of an enzyme in the body called glucocerebrosidase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down the fatty acid glucosylceramide. Decrease in enzyme activity leads to the accumulation of glucosylceramide inside cells in the body (especially white blood cells, most commonly macrophages). As a result, cells grow dramatically, becoming giant cells called Gaucher cells. These cells accumulate in the spleen, liver, bone marrow and bones, causing them to grow and interfering in their functioning. In 1995, with the National Health Insurance Law going into effect, Gaucher's disease became recognized as one of the serious illnesses whose treatment is covered by the government.
Medications and the Healthcare System
- Since Gaucher's disease is on the list of serious illnesses, patients are exempt from paying for various medical services.
- Gaucher patients are defined as chronically ill, and are therefore entitled to exemption from payment for medications beyond the prescribed monthly limit. (Those who are eligible should exercise this right only as a complement to the right discussed above, which may entitle full exemption from paying for medications, depending on the relevant health plan regulations.)
- The health funds are obligated to preserve the continuity of treatment provided to Gaucher's patients even if the there are changes in the agreements or in the health plan care giver choices. For more information see Maintaining Continuity of Care (Principle of Treatment Continuity).
- Children who require transfusion of blood, blood products, blood substitutes, antibiotics or other infusions as part of extended treatment, at least once a month are classified as requiring special medical treatment. Parents of a child with Gaucher's disease who receives medical treatment that fits this description may file a claim to receive a disabled child benefit. For more information, see: Disabled Child Benefit and Related Benefits.
- Gaucher patients with severe problems with their legs due to the illness, may be entitled to a Mobility Benefit.
- Parents may receive Income Tax Credit Points for a Child or Adult with Disabilities.
- Parents whose child receives a Disabled Child Benefit are entitled to:
- Gaucher patients receiving treatment may volunteer for military service. For more information, see: Volunteering in the IDF for Military Exemption Recipients.
- Parents are entitled to take sick days to care for their child or when their child is undergoing medical treatment.
- A Gaucher's patient who has at least 20% disability established is eligible for vocational rehabilitation from the National Insurance Institute.