After enlisting in the IDF, you will be moved from your civilian HMO into the Military Medical System. The IDF Medical Corps offers various medical services in addition to treating urgent cases such as illness or injury. So what is MARPA? How can you see a specialized physician? What assistive devices can you get for free? Especially for your enlistment, we have gathered everything you should know about the IDF Medical Services.
General Medical Services
Seeing a Specialized Physician
In order to see a specialized physician, you must first get a reference (valid for four months) from a unit physician in an organized appointment. Most of the specialized physicians are based at the Regional Clinics (MARPA), but some can be found in big unit clinics in central bases. If there are no available appointments at the Regional Clinics, you will have the option of scheduling an appointment at one of the Civilian Hospitals that have an arrangement with the Medical Corps.
An appointment can be made via your personal account on a military computer or using the Medical Corps’ Mikol HaLev call center at 03-9489999 which is active 24/7.
The center may be consulted on any medical issue at any time, except for Saturdays and Holidays, in which only urgent cases will be addressed.
MARPA (Regional clinics)
MARPA is a regional clinic and serves as a sort of Military Hospital, where soldiers arrive mainly for seeing specialized physicians. The Regional Clinics, are situated in the four central cities in Israel and receive patients from their associated districts. Any medical treatment that goes beyond the examination of a general unit physician will be administered in MARPA, whether it’s consultation with a specialized physician, treatment of a broken bone or even surgery.
The regional Clinics are:
Northern MARPA - Hospital 10 (Haifa)
Central MARPA - Tzrifin Camp (Rishon LeZion)
Southern MARPA - Natan Camp (Beer Sheva)
Capital MARPA - Ofrit Camp (Jerusalem)
A Ptor is an exemption for the purpose of alleviating inconveniences caused by medical conditions. A soldier receives them on a personal basis in order to safely continue with his assigned work without harming his health. A Ptor can be temporary (for passing ailments) or permanent (throughout your service). The only one with the power to grant a Ptor is a registered military physician, and sometimes they will reference the soldiers to specialized physicians for further consultation and examination.
You must remember that opinions given by civilian doctors prior to your enlistment will be viewed as mere recommendations, but are important to have as secondary opinions for the purpose of receiving a Ptor and speeding the process up. The Medical Ptor you require can be received as early as your enlistment day at a Medical Committee, after meeting with a Medical Officer. A Ptor can be given only by an active Medical Corps Officer.
In cases where further examination is required, a temporary Ptor will be granted until the matter is settled.
A Short Term Ptor (up to 14 days) can be given by any physician in the IDF. A temporary Ptor that lasts up to 45 days can be given by a specialized physician and a temporary Ptor that lasts longer can be given only by an active Medical Corps Officer.
As part of your rights as a soldier in the IDF, you are entitled to receive several medical assistive devices - fully funded. The Health Basket set by the Ministry of Health is free of charge and there will be no need to pay for medicine included in it after getting a prescription from a registered military physician. Also, you can get funding for medical devices such as glasses and lenses, hearing aids, pregnancy checks, inhalation devices, orthopedic devices and many more. Most of them can only be funded once during your service.
For more details you can turn to the Medical Corps’ phone center, or to the unit’s clinic for personal consultation.
Psychological Treatment (KABAN)
The Military service, by it’s nature, may induce stress which is every bit as important to treat as any other pain or injury. It’s important for you to know, that contrary to the rumors, that a referral to mental health authorities given during service can not be transferred to any civilian authorities and is confidential! A referral to a Kaban (Mental Health Officer), psychologist or social worker is in fact one of your basic rights as an IDF soldier, and they must keep your confidentiality.
Receiving psychological treatment from a Barhan (Mental Health) authority can be done if necessary and after initial assessment by an registered authority. If you wish to begin a process of psychological counseling in a Medical Corps’ Barhan clinic, don’t be afraid to reach out to your unit’s mental health authorities via your direct officer or via referral from the general unit clinic.