China / Society

China to accelerate public hospital reform

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-11-21 20:27

BEIJING - The State Council, China's cabinet, will send 12 teams across the country to inspect improvements at county-level public hospitals, following the rollout of reform measures.

The teams, which include representatives from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, National Development and Reform Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, will conduct onsite inspections toward the end of November.

County hospitals cover more than 900 million people -- 70 percent of the population -- yet, struggle to handle designated medical services.

The government set the goal that 90 percent of patients should start their treatment in county public hospitals. But in reality, over 20 percent choose to see doctors in big city hospitals without referral.

The reform of county public hospitals is one of the major tasks in medical reform. The wider plan is to establish a modern hospital management system, eliminating drug price competition and standardizing referral procedures.

The inspection teams are entrusted with the "sorting out" of public hospitals' finances to make medicine purchase and supply more transparent.

They will also exchange ideas with local hospitals on matters such as medicare payment, hospital personnel distribution, the classification of diagnosis and treatment of the patients.

Health care reform measures were first launched in 2009, with a focus on improvements at the grassroots level and access to basic public health services.

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