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China targets 8-trillion-yuan health service sector

Updated: 2013-10-14 19:55
( Xinhua)

BEIJING -- China has set the target of increasing the gross value of its health service sector to over 8 trillion yuan ($1.31 trillion) by 2020, according to a guideline issued by the State Council on Monday.

More measures will be taken to boost this sector, which will serve to improve people's wellbeing as well as shoring up growth, said the guideline.

The health service industry covers medical services, health management, health insurance, and other supporting sectors related to pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, healthcare facilities and healthcare food.

New measures to increase private capital in the sector will include relaxing market admittance requirements for investment from non-governmental sources, and giving equal treatment to not-for-profit private medical institutions and public medical establishments.

The government will also simplify approval procedures for rehabilitation centers, hospitals for children and elderly patients, and nursing homes, according to the guideline.

China will encourage cooperation between medical establishments and nursing homes, so as to provide treatment of chronic diseases to elderly patients in local communities.

The guideline added that the government encourages insurance companies to diversify commercial health insurance products and vows to make the commercial insurance scheme cover more people.

Liu Guo'en, an expert tracking China's health reform and a professor at the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, said the new policy aims to improve people's health from a life-cycle perspective.

It pays more attention to health management, highlighting early detection and early treatment of diseases through a health checkup, said Liu.

Han Xiaohong, president of Ciming Health Checkup Management Group, one of the largest healthcare checkup providers in China, hailed the supportive measures for private capital.

Four investment projects of Ciming have previously been vetoed by government authorities as they were located "too close to public hospitals," according to Han.

"Health checkup centers like us are not allowed to purchase nuclear magnetic resonance machines, limiting our services to customers," said Han.

With the new guideline in place, Han expected more detailed policies to be rolled out soon, so his company will be better positioned to compete with public hospitals.