Doc­tors urge NHI to in­clude Chi­nese medicine treat­ments

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

For pa­tients seek­ing Chi­nese medicine treat­ment on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis than Western-style med­i­cal treat­ment, cheaper med­i­cal bills for overnight surgery may be­come a re­al­ity as a group of Chi­nese medicine doc­tors are urg­ing the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Ad­min­is­tra­tion ( NHI Ad­min­is­tra­tion, ) to in­clude Chi­nese medicine treat­ment for sev­eral ma­jor ill­nesses into the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Pro­gram (NHI Pro­gram), ac­cord­ing to the United Evening News yesterday.

Dur­ing the ini­tial im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NHI Pro­gram, of­fi­cials con­sid­ered in­clud­ing Chi­nese medicine treat­ments, but later re­jected the idea as reg­u­la­tions de­mand that med­i­cal treat­ment be based on “sci­en­tific ev­i­dence” for in­clu­sion in the public health sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to Liu Lin-yi (

), chief of the NHI Ad­min­is­tra­tion, around 7 mil­lion pa­tients seek Chi­nese med­i­cal treat­ment ev­ery year. For se­vere ill­nesses, pa­tients must ei­ther pay around NT$2,300 per night as in­pa­tients for overnight surgery, or are forced to go to the hos­pi­tal as out­pa­tients on a daily ba­sis, which of­ten in­volves spend­ing much time wait­ing in line.

Ow­ing to these fac­tors, a health care cam­paign group, the Al­liance for NHI Pro­gram Over­sight (

) joined with Chi­nese medicine doc­tors to pe­ti­tioned the Min­istry of Health and Wel­fare (MHW, ), urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to agree to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port for pa­tients un­der­go­ing out­pa­tient treat­ments.

Pa­tients of­ten need treat­ment for ma­jor dis­eases in­volved in the pro­gram, in­clud­ing can­cer, strokes, head in­juries, bone frac­tures, and de­men­tia. “Pa­tients should not be wait­ing in line ev­ery­day just be- cause the med­i­cal fee is too high,” said Yang Hsien-hong ( ), di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese Medicine Depart­ment of Linkou Chang Gung Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal ( ).

Trial Pro­gram Looks to

NT$300 Mil­lion

Ac­cord­ing to the United Evening News, the first step is to con­duct a trial pro­gram at 10 hos­pi­tals around the na­tion. The NHI Pro­gram will cover NT$2,500 for each bed. An es­ti­mated NT$300 mil­lion will be re­quired.

Ko Fu-yang ( ), sec­re­tarygen­eral of the Na­tional Union of Chi­nese Me­dial Doc­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion, R.O.C. said that this would not only ben­e­fit pa­tients, but also the re­search and de­vel­op­ment of Chi­nese medicine treat­ments, as doc­tors will be able to train and learn from more clin­i­cal prac­tices.

In re­sponse, MHW of­fi­cials said that they will take the pe­ti­tion into con­sid­er­a­tion once it is re­ceived.

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