Public hospitals to be­come non­profit by 2020, State Coun­cil says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Public hospitals in China will op­er­ate un­der a new sys­tem not driven by prof­its by 2020, ac­cord­ing to a guide­line the State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, re­leased on Tues­day.

China should es­tab­lish a “mod­ern hos­pi­tal man­age­ment sys­tem” that ad­heres to putting peo­ple’s health at the cen­ter and ad­heres to the non­profit na­ture of public hospitals and putting the public’s in­ter­est as a pri­or­ity, the guide­line said.

By 2020, it said, the new sys­tem will en­sure that a non­profit, higher-ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment has been es­tab­lished.

Public hospitals are the main provider of health­care in China. These hospitals, which num­bered more than 12,700 by the end of last year, pro­vided 2.85 bil­lion out­pa­tient and emer­gency ser­vices last year, ac­count­ing for more than 87 per­cent of the cases pro­vided by all hospitals in China, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. Pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties ac­counted for the rest.

To en­sure the new non­profit hos­pi­tal struc­ture is sus­tain­able, health au­thor­i­ties will make new health plans and es­tab­lish in­te­grated health­care sys­tems in dif­fer­ent re­gions for a bet­ter dis­tri­bu­tion of health re­sources be­tween big hospitals and com­mu­nity health cen­ters, Wang Hesh­eng, vicemin­is­ter of the health com­mis­sion and head of the State Coun­cil Med­i­cal Re­form Of­fice, said at a news conference on Wed­nes­day.

The gov­ern­ment will in­crease fund­ing to public hospitals and help them re­pay loans so they can re­tain a non­profit sta­tus, he said.

Health au­thor­i­ties also will es­tab­lish a new merit evalua- tion sys­tem on pres­i­dents of public hospitals that is not profit-ori­ented, high­light­ing in­dexes such as qual­ity of med­i­cal ser­vices pro­vided, cost con­trol and sat­is­fac­tory rat­ings from pa­tients, he said.

The re­sult of the eval­u­a­tions will be linked with the amount of gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, pay­ment of public med­i­cal in­sur­ance fund and salaries and pro­mo­tions of hos­pi­tal pres­i­dents, he said.

China started a new round of med­i­cal re­form in 2010 aim­ing at public hospitals. One ma­jor task was abol­ish­ing the gen­er­ally prac­ticed price markups of drugs sold in hospitals. Drug prices con­trib­uted to a profit-driven sys­tem, in which many public hospitals were en­cour­aged to use ex­ces­sive and more ex­pen­sive drugs and even un­nec­es­sary check­ups to gen­er­ate higher prof­its, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts.

Un­der the sys­tem, doc­tors’ in­comes are closely linked with the in­comes of their de­part­ments in public hospitals, which in­creased med­i­cal bills for pa­tients, ac­cord­ing to some ex­perts.

The prac­tice of markups for med­i­ca­tions, which has been prac­ticed in public hospitals in China for decades, will be abol­ished in all public hospitals be­fore the end of Septem­ber, the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion said ear­lier this year.

“Es­tab­lish­ing the new public hos­pi­tal man­age­ment sys­tem in China that em­pha­sizes their non­profit na­ture can en­sure a healthy de­vel­op­ment of public hospitals,” said Fu Wei, di­rec­tor of the Heath De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter, which is part of the health com­mis­sion. “In the process, public hospitals should be given more au­ton­omy in their man­age­ment, and more par­tic­i­pa­tion from hos­pi­tal em­ploy­ees in man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sion of hospitals should be en­cour­aged.”

Es­tab­lish­ing the new public hos­pi­tal man­age­ment sys­tem in China ... can en­sure a healthy de­vel­op­ment of public hospitals.” Fu Wei, di­rec­tor of the Heath De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter

CHEN CHAO / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

Res­i­dents in Chongqing take part in an ice bucket chal­lenge at a park dur­ing Tues­day’s heat. Sev­eral dis­tricts in Chongqing that day is­sued red high-tem­per­a­ture alerts, the first such alerts in the city this sum­mer.

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