Raising a child is both a rewarding and challenging experience. Many children, especially those with special needs, may require some therapy or assistance. Early intervention is often the best way to ensure the strongest outcomes for children. This can be incredibly difficult for the parents, and the bureaucratic confusion only adds to the struggle. We hope this guide can clarify what your options are and how to access assistance, so both you and your child get the care they deserve.
What is Hitpatchut HaYeled (HHY)?
Hitpatchut HaYeled (HHY) is the Kupat Cholim’s childhood early intervention clinic. The clinic offers many services, and is accessible to children under the age of 9*.
*There are certain situations where a child can receive services over 9, such as if they’re continuing a therapy they already started, or for a certain diagnosis. However, it is best/easiest to get your childhood into Hitpatchut HaYeled before age 9.
What services are available?
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy (OT)
- Physical Therapy (PT)
- Child Psychologist
- Child Psychiatrist
- Pediatric Neurologist
- Neonatologist (premature babies only)
How do I know if I need services at Hitpatchut HaYeled?
- General assistance
- Generally healthy children that need extra support
- Child may need a diagnosis (see our Autism and ADHD guides)
- Need specific services: OT, speech therapy, psychotherapy
- Children with specific diagnoses (Autism, ADHD, and other somatic disorders)
- Premature babies
What is the intake process? How do I get into HHY? (Use this as a checklist if needed)
- Get referrals from your Pediatrician/GP
- Referral for Hitpatchut HaYeled
- Referral for hearing tests and/or vision test
- Ask the medical secretary for the parent & teacher forms
- Fill out the parent form
- Have the ganenet or teacher fill out the form
- Hearing Test (almost always necessary for children under age 9)
- Hitchayvut for hearing test if being done at an external clinic
- Vision Test (for children between 2-6 years old)
- Once all your forms, test results, and documents are collected, submit them through the medical secretary to HHY.
- Wait for a call from HHY for an appointment for an assessment. This may take a long time, and it is important to follow up with them and push for an earlier appt.
- Once an assessment is done, and it’s determined that your child needs treatment, an appointment will be made with a relevant therapist. This may take time and we encourage you to follow up, exercise your rights, and use our additional tips (see below).
How many appointments can I get?
- Children that do not suffer from a somatic developmental disorder and are not on the Autism spectrum are entitled to the following number of treatments:
- Ages 0-3: Unlimited number of treatments, based on the assessment and opinion of the doctor or specialist.
- Ages 3-6: Up to 27 treatments per year of each therapy (speech, PT, OT), with maximum 54 treatments a year of all therapies combined. Provided based on the need determined by the doctor or specialist.
- Ages 6-9: Up to 9 treatments per year of each therapy (speech, PT, OT), with maximum 18 treatments a year of all therapies combined. Provided based on the need determined by the doctor or specialist.
- Children with a somatic developmental disorder, Autism, or other related diagnoses:
- Unlimited number of treatments based on the assessment and opinion of the doctor or specialist.
- Children recovering from surgery or accident:
- Unlimited number of treatments based on the assessment and opinion of the doctor or specialist, regardless of their eligibility for developmental services.
Supplemental Insurance Benefits
- Additional appointments (than the maximums listed above) for therapies in HHY.
- Tipul Rigshi, such as animal therapy, drama therapy, art therapy, and music therapy. This is outside HHY, but is another therapy option offered at heavily discounted rates for children with supplemental insurance.
- Partial reimbursement 3-4 times a year for private medical specialists (neurologist, psychiatrist, etc) that are contracted with your Kupah.
- If your child needs speech therapy for pronunciation (i.e. has a lisp), but not for developmental reasons, some Kupot offer speech therapy directly through the Kupah, without needing to go through the entire process of HHY. Hafnaya (referral) is required.
Ministry of Health Regulations (MoH): Wait Times
- No more than 3 months wait time to get a diagnosis or start treatment/therapies.
- The wait between necessary appointments for treatment for the child should not be more than 1 month.
- If it takes more than 3 months to get a diagnosis and treatment, you can contact one of the child development units recognized by the MoH (even if that clinic does not have a contract with your Kupah). The family would then be entitled to reimbursement for the appointments for diagnosis and treatment from the Kupat Cholim (up until the maximum they are entitled to, see above).
- In the above case, we encourage you to speak to HHY and ask for a Hitchayvut (Tofes 17), which means the Kupah will have to pay for the private appointments upfront. This will be easier, and likely less expensive, than fighting and waiting for reimbursements.
- For a full list of child development units recognized by MoH: https://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/KidsAndMatures/child_development/Pages/child_development_complex.aspx.
- Priority for diagnosis and treatment is given to children in the following cases:
- Children with a developmental disorder that requires immediate therapeutic intervention.
- New Immigrants (Olim) children with a developmental disorder during their first year after Aliyah.
- Premature infants born at a birth weight of less than 1.5 kg, and before week 32 of pregnancy must receive services within 1 month of the request. For further details, see Early Referral to Child Development Services for Premature Infants.
- Make sure referrals are detailed, and clearly indicate the concern, diagnosis, or therapies needed. The more serious the situation, the more likely you are to be given priority.
- Meet with your medical secretary. They will be able to provide you with the necessary forms, assist you with organizing the documents, and send them to HHY. It is worthwhile to go into the clinic in person.
- Follow up: Be sure to call HHY after your application is sent in to make sure they are attending to it, and getting you an appointment. Nudge a little, it can help!
- Be your child’s advocate: Insist on getting into appointments, and tell the doctors and therapists exactly what your concerns and needs are.
- Know your rights: Having the knowledge provided in this guide can make a big difference when it comes to receiving services in a reasonable timeframe. Although there are wait time regulations (listed above), they are not easily enforced. However, when you come to the clinic and insist on getting care based on the MoH regulations, or through supplemental insurance, you are more likely to receive an earlier appointment or coverage elsewhere.
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All resources linked to www.kolzchut.org.il/en are the exclusive translations of the Yad L’Olim Healthcare Division in memory of Shira Pransky z”l.
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For further information and personal assistance, please contact Yad L’Olim’s Healthcare Division at email@example.com