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Medical partnership to improve services

Updated: May 3,2017 7:47 AM Century Business Herald

The State Council recently issued a circular to boost medical partnership and further reform the current medical system.

The move will help optimize structure of medical resources, improve services of local medical institutions, and boost the whole medical service system, according to the circular.

During a visit to Sunjiatuan Hospital in Weihai city of Shandong province on April 20, Premier Li Keqiang stressed the significance of medical partnership, saying free flow of high-quality resources will benefit patients.

The community hospital featuring traditional Chinese medicine has formed a medical alliance with Weihai City Chinese Medicine Hospital.

“We should make efforts to break through the barriers and make high-quality medical resources flow, to seek better treatment for patients by means of medical alliances,” he said.

The major target of the partnership is to send superior medical resources to lower level medical institutions.

All top-level public hospitals of provinces carrying out such medical reform will take part in the initiative and at least one effective medical partnership will be formed in each city, according to the circular.

In addition to medical partnership among urban and community hospitals, such alliance will also be formed among medical institutions within county-level administrative regions.

The partnership will bring conveniences to patients as previously diagnosis reports and drugs cannot be shared and medical insurances stipulations were different among hospitals in some regions.

The unshared medical resources make a Matthew Effect, in which big hospitals become monopoly, absorbing more and more resources from grassroots clinics. However, they are, at the same time, cannot provide quality services to every patient.

So medical partnerships are about to push them delegate some resources to grassroots, thus cutting their burdens to allow them focus on critical cases and academic research.

Performance assessment is emphasized for the partnerships. Whether the medical resources and technologies are shared will be directly connected with medical staff’s wage and promotion.

Time table is clear. The reform will be implemented nationwide in 2020. Many things will be tried in pilot projects in the coming years, including public hospital reform and payment mode reform of medical insurance.

Medical partnership also has connection with elder care industry. The reform will make more old people be treated just in their home and communities. In Weihai, Premier Li said China has already has 200 million elders, so we must connect elder care and healthcare industry.

Several departments are involved in the reform, including the national health and family planning commission, traditional Chinese medicine administration, technology, finance and social insurance bureau. A collaboration mechanism among those departments is necessary.