Chinese political body wants more progress on hospital reforms

China

The pace of hospital reforms in China needs to go faster as patient access to services continues to lag and costs are not under control--with the insurance reimbursement system a focus.

News service China.org.cn said those issues prompted a fresh wave of proposals to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, the country's top political advisory body.

Among the suggestions is a new system of insurance payments that would fund hospitals to pay staff better and avoid reliance on markups for prescription drugs sold on site as a primary revenue source, the online news site said citing a statement from the CPPCC.

In April, the government announced subsidies to expand a program to wean public hospitals from markups on drugs sold on site to now cover 200 public hospitals from 100 currently.

But as China.cn.org points out, the many rural hospitals and clinics fall outside the pilot, making it necessary to consider how to shift insurance payments to community clinics.

China is trying to target subsidies as part of a broad effort to restructure healthcare delivery. Doctors at major public hospitals face increasing patient loads and low pay, while patients may have to endure long waiting times for a consultation.

- here's the Xinhua story from China.org.cn

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