Public Hospital Reform Underway in Beijing, China

Haijiang Zhou, ,

Other Contributors:

October 04, 2013

We read with interest the article by Shamini et al[1], in which he suggested that primary care services should be more responsive to needs of the older adolescent age. Here we intend to introduce some new policies recently implemented in hospitals in Beijing, China.

Beijing has begun implementing its public hospital reform programs since July 1, 2012 [2]. Patients are charged a medical care service fee which varies according to doctor's seniority while the 15 percent pharmaceutical markup is eliminated, aiming at reducing hospitals' dependency on profits from drug prescriptions and fine-tuning the structure of hospitals' incomes.

Under the policy, the consultation fee varies from 42, 60, 80 to 100 yuan, based on a doctor's qualifications. For emergency care services, 62 yuan are discharged. Patients under the medical care insurance system are reimbursed 70 percent of prescription medicine fees and they only have to pay 2 yuan to see a general practitioner. Statistics from Beijing Chao- yang Hospital shown that the average medical cost has been decreasing[3]. Moreover, patients can make appointments via online registration platform or by telephone, which makes it easier for them to see a top specialist.

The new medical care service fee better represents the value of and pays respect to physicians' work. It helps doctors boost incomes and lower incentives to prescribe unnecessary and expensive drugs. Moreover, it is beneficial to improve quality of medical services and better utilize limited medical resources.

However, stemming the flow of complaints from patients is not easy. Loopholes still remain. For patients without insurance, especially those with minor ailments, they have to pay more for registrations than before. In addition, the uneven distribution of medical resources and the huge pressure of extra work-load of medical personnel[4] remain as problems urgently needed to be tackled.

We welcome the government's efforts to boom health care expenditure[5] and improve people's well-beings. But more work is still required to establish a reasonable, effective, and optimized medical service system in China.

We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

References

1 Gnani S, McDonald H, Islam S, et al. Patterns of healthcare use among adolescents attending an urban general-practitioner-led urgent care centre. Emerg Med J Published Online First, doi:10.1136/emermed-2012- 202017.

2 Wang QY. Hospital to stop selling medicine at markup. China Daily Jun 28, 2012. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012- 06/28/content_15533323.htm(accessed Jun 16, 2013)

3 Wang. Public hospital reform proves effective. CRI English Nov 13, 2012. http://english.cri.cn/7146/2012/11/13/2361s732309.htm (accessed Jun 16, 2013)

4 Wang W. How to make it easier to see doctors in Beijing. CRI English Jan 2, 2013. http://english.cri.cn/7146/2013/01/02/2361s741648.htm (accessed Jun 16, 2013)

5 Liu J. Health care expenditure booms in China: report. China Daily Aug 29, 2012. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012- 08/29/content_15717138.htm (accessed Jun 16, 2013)

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared