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China to increase efforts in integrating medical and elderly care

Zhang Yue
Updated: Sep 11,2019 11:02 PM

The Chinese government will deepen the integration of medical and elderly care by streamlining approval procedures, providing favorable tax and fee policies, and developing insurance plans for the integrated services, in an effort to better meet the needs of senior citizens for health and aged care.

The decision was made at the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Sept 11.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the work of integrating medical and elderly care. General Secretary Xi Jinping underlined the importance of delivering on all policy measures for promoting the growth of elderly services and the integrated development of medical, health and elderly care. This area of work was emphasized in the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. At State Council executive meetings when integration of medical and elderly care was discussed, Premier Li Keqiang urged intensified implementation of supportive policies, including facilitating cooperation between existing medical and elderly care institutions to complement each other’s roles.

“Integrating medical and elderly care services, as a subject, has been in discussion for quite a few years. It is high time to make concrete breakthroughs. Such services are in high demand among senior citizens, and can also help ease the burden on the young people,” Premier Li said. “The government must focus its efforts on addressing people’s pressing needs and concerns. Our efforts should serve the dual ends of promoting development and raising people’s living standards. In fact, improving people’s lives in itself is a boost to development.”

Measures for further promoting integrated medical and elderly care were adopted at the meeting. Approval procedures for institutions providing integrated medical and elderly services will be simplified. The requirements for administrative approval and occupational registration will be combined for elderly care institutions to set up medical facilities at Grade II or below.

Medical institutions that plan to provide elderly care with existing resources are only required to complete a record-filing process on qualifications for construction and fire control.

The government will encourage private parties to open integrated medical and elderly care institutions by improving the pricing mechanism, rescinding unjustified procedures and providing single-window services.

“We must facilitate the participation of private parties and follow market principles. In particular, there needs to be a greater variety of insurance products,” Premier Li said.

Cooperation will be encouraged between elderly care institutions and institutions providing medical, rehabilitation and nursing services. Home-visit medical services will be supported, and training professionals in related fields, nursing care in particular, will be intensified.

Favorable taxation and land-use policies for such integrated service providers will be implemented. Medical service charges that fall within the scope of basic medical insurance will be paid by basic medical insurance funds.

Places where conditions permit will be encouraged to incorporate, over time, more medical rehabilitation services into the basic medical insurance plan.

Insurance plans for integrated service of medical and elderly care will be developed. More varieties of commercial insurance will be made available for senior citizens. The pilot program of long-term nursing insurance will be promoted at a faster pace.

“In promoting the integration of medical and elderly care services, key policies such as pricing must be improved,” Premier Li said.