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China details major tasks in healthcare reform

Updated: May 5,2017 8:44 PM

The central government has detailed major tasks for healthcare reform in 2017 in a circular issued by the State Council on May 5.

The document lists 56 tasks focusing on making quality medical care more accessible and setting up diversified medical services.

According to the circular, China will expand its tiered medical system and contract-based family doctor services to 85 percent of prefecture-level cities. The contract rate for family doctors among key groups should reach above 60 percent in 2017, covering all impoverished populations, said the circular.

Meanwhile, more diversified forms of medical partnership pilot projects should be started nationwide, with top-level public hospitals playing leading roles. Each province should deliver an action plan for carrying out such efforts before the end of June.

The government also plans to fully strengthen its ability to serve people with traditional Chinese medicine especially among the grassroots-level hospitals.

All public hospitals should carry out comprehensive reforms before the end of September and remove all the medicine markups, the document stated.

The circular also emphasized building modern hospital management systems with efficient coordination, supervision and interaction.

Local governments are required to control annual medical fee increases, with average growth rates kept below 10 percent for all public hospitals, and related indicators should be released to the public periodically.

The document stressed the need to finish medical insurance integration among urban and rural residents, forming a unified standard on related items, such as medical benefits and fund management.

The government also pledged to roll out an enhanced health information platform across the country which will be better connected with provincial and lower-level platforms, to further meet the growing demand for health and medical services.

In addition, eight ministerial departments are expected to introduce 14 related guidelines this year on medical reforms such as promoting medical partnerships, modern hospital management, diversified healthcare services with enhanced social support and a credit system for buying and selling medicine.