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State Council highlights key tasks of medical reform in 2016

Updated: Apr 26,2016 9:10 PM

The State Council highlighted key tasks to deepen medical and health care reform this year in a circular issued on April 26.

Those tasks are set to ensure the completion of medical reform in the 13th Five-Year (2016-2020) period and promote the construction of basic health care systems covering both urban and rural residents, the circular said.

According to the circular, 100 more pilot cities will be added to carry out medical reform in public hospitals, increasing the total to 200. The central finance will allocate 20 million yuan ($3 million), a one-off subsidy for each newly-added pilot city.

The circular stressed deepening medical reform in public hospitals and the detailed measures involve improving management systems in public hospitals, deepening personnel system reform and establishing a favorable salary system. In addition, controlling the unreasonable growth of medical fees, promoting the comprehensive reform of public TMC hospitals and further improving medical service actions at medical institutions at all levels are also stressed by the circular.

The circular emphasized speeding up the construction of a tiered medical system. Contracted services of family physicians need to be expanded and the service capacity strengthened at grassroots medical institutions and county hospitals.

Coverage of the contracted services of family physicians is expected to reach over 15 percent in urban areas by the end of 2016; coverage among the targeted population will reach more than 30 percent, according to the circular.

Moreover, the health insurance system for all people should be consolidated and improved, the circular noted.

The participation rate of basic healthcare insurance is supposed to be maintained at over 95 percent and the governmental healthcare insurance subsidies for urban and rural residents will be raised to 420 yuan ($65) per capita. Individual contributions to healthcare insurance will be increased accordingly. By 2017, the direct clearing of hospitalization costs could be achieved in cities without household registration.

By the end of June 2016, provinces, regions and cities at all levels should complete the overall deployment of coordination and integration of medical insurance systems for urban and rural residents.

Insurance for critical diseases should cover all residents to let more patients benefit from the policy, the circular said. The central finance will arrange 16 billion yuan ($ 2.5 billion) as medical relief for urban and rural residents. A comprehensive medical relief system on critical diseases should be carried out and guide social forces’ participation in it.

The circular also called for deepened reform on payment methods of medical insurance and the development of commercial healthcare insurance.

The circular urged improvement of the system of basic medicines and medicine pricing mechanism and centralized purchase of medicines. It also asked to establish a new medicine circulation order and improve the medicine supply capacity.

Special work groups should be organized to research how to deepen the reform of medicine evaluation and the approval system. They also will amend policy documents on medicine production and circulation and regulate the medicine production and circulation order.

Related ministries should be responsible for making a guideline to deepen the reform of medicine circulation.

The circular called a comprehensive supervision system, including legal supervision, information transparency and severe punishment for illegal behavior.

The circular also urged enhancing the cultivation of grassroots medical talent, general practitioners. The training of resident doctors should be regulated. Specialized professions lacking enough talent should be supported, especially in certain medical facilities.

The construction of health information platforms at different levels should be promoted and different information systems should be inter-connected. Health care and medical big data can be tried at some regions with certain conditions. Doctors are encouraged to work in regions where there is a shortage of related resources.

The document also asked to promote traditional Chinese medicine and encourage private medical organizations to participate in professions such as geriatrics. Medical and healthcare services should be extended to neighborhoods and households.

Deepening medical reform is a complicated project that requires an overall vision and active participation. The government should fulfill its duties in leadership, management and supervision.