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State Council policies on medical reform in 2016

Updated: Dec 19,2016 3:01 PM

The State Council released many policies on medical reform this year. Efforts were made to increase hospitals specializing in traditional Chinese medicine, boost big data application in the medical sector, and expand payments for medical insurance, to reduce costs and improve services.

Reducing costs

The State Council in January issued a circular to integrate the new-type rural cooperative medical system and basic medical insurance for urban residents to promote medical fairness and bring more benefits to people.

The medical insurance system will be expanded for the benefit of people, according to a document issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and related ministries in March. Twenty medical rehabilitation projects would be included in the basic medical insurance system, the document said.

The new-type rural cooperative medical system was improved when the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Ministry of Finance co-issued a document on direct settlement of expenses at the provincial level. By 2017, patients will be able to enjoy direct settlement of expenses after transferring to a designated hospital in another province.

The National Development and Reform Commission decided to further reform the medical services charging system. Checkup and test fees will be reduced, while services that require professional skills, such as diagnosis and surgery, will increase, the guideline said.

All public hospitals will have to stop marking up their drug prices, according to a document released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in November.

Facilitating medical treatment

The State Council released a guideline in February to develop the traditional Chinese medicine sector, increase hospitals for traditional Chinese medicine in cities and counties, and improve traditional medical services in towns and communities.

In June, the State Council issued a circular regarding application and development of big data in the health and medical sectors, with the goal of promoting online appointments and mobile payments, and achieving cross-sector and cross-regional data resource sharing in the country.

Six government departments decided to ease the shortage of children’s medical care resources, according to a document in May. By 2020, there is expected to be 2.2 beds per 1,000 children and 0.69 physicians per 1,000 children, according to the document.

China is planning to extend family doctor services, according to a document issued in June. In 2016, 200 Chinese cities that are testing public hospital reform will introduce family doctor service contracts. By 2017, more than 30 percent of the entire population, including over 60 percent of the priority groups, will be able to enjoy contractual services from family doctors, according to the guideline.