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China to expand cross-provincial settlement of medical expenses

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-01 20:09
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A doctor introduces a medical robot that can perform operations to visiting students at Ruijin Hospital Affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai on Sept 5, 2020. [GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY]

BEIJING - China plans to incorporate more regions into its system for the settlement of standard medical fees later in the year, on the back of experience drawn from 12 pilot areas, according to an official circular.

This will mark a step closer to the preliminary operation of a bona fide national medical-information platform by the end of 2021, which would enable patients across the country to seek treatment in places other than designated locations and settle their expenses on the spot.

Regions with sound infrastructure are encouraged to apply to join the cross-provincial system, said the National Healthcare Security Administration and the Ministry of Finance in the circular.

The pilot system currently covers provincial-level areas of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Chongqing, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Tibet, according to the circular.

Local authorities are asked to link more medical institutions in sub-areas and expand the range of medical fees that the system can handle, it said.

Before the pilot program was launched, patients had to return to the locality where they were enrolled to be reimbursed.

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