Business / healthcare

China steps up moves to curb healthcare bribery

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-29 07:15

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Health has ordered patients and hospitals to sign a document agreeing that no bribes will be offered or accepted by the two parties.

When a public hospital accepts a new inpatient, both sides should sign the agreement in which the patient promises no bribe, and the hospital and doctors no acceptance of a bribe, according to a circular issued by the ministry on Friday.

The agreement will be archived as part of the patient's medical record, the circular said.

In China, some patients and their family members offer "red envelopes" that contain cash to doctors before surgery, so to ensure better care during and after procedures.

The ministry on Friday published three documents relating to prevention and control of corruption risk in the country's public hospitals.

The documents asked hospitals to strengthen control and supervision of administrative power and practices of medical workers.

Their efforts should be focused on corruption-prone positions and key procedures within the service that may trigger high public attention, according to the documents.

They also urged a timely and effective curb of doctors' receiving "red envelopes" or kickbacks and prescribing unnecessary medicine as well as overcharging patients.

Also on Friday, China's Vice Health Minister Ma Xiaowei told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that a reform program in the country's public hospitals has received positive results.

In the Beijing Friendship Hospital, where the program has been piloted, the current average healthcare fee in each outpatient case has been cut by 69.8 yuan (about 11 U.S. dollars) from the figure in the first half of the year, a decrease of 15.5 percent, Ma said.

Average medical fees for inpatient cases reduced by 2,467 yuan, registering a 13.2 percent drop, he said.

Moreover, medical practices are becoming more professional. The pilot hospitals have reduced their reliance on medicine sales revenue, and have seen fewer unnecessary prescriptions, especially for antibacterial drugs.

To improve services, the vice minister promised more government investment in hospitals' infrastructure and equipment to ensure a greater proportion of hospital spending goes to medical workers' pay.

He also urged hospitals to promote their management to improve efficiency.

Moreover, a reliable third-party mediation system and a sound insurance system for medical liabilities should be set up to solve disputes and maintain harmonious relations between medical workers and patients, Ma said.

Ma also called for more opportunities of in-service education and training for doctors to improve their service quality.

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