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China to Enhance Public Hospital Reform and Healthcare Development in 2024

Beijing, June 07, 2024, The Europe Today: In an effort to deepen its healthcare reform, China will further promote the reform and high-quality development of public hospitals. This initiative is part of the healthcare reform tasks for 2024 recently released by the General Office of the State Council.

The document encourages local governments to adopt successful healthcare reform practices from Sanming, a city in Fujian Province. Sanming initiated its public hospital reforms in 2012 to tackle issues such as the overpricing of drugs and medical consumables, and the overuse of medications and tests, which resulted in costly medical services and a heavy burden on local medical insurance funds.

The reform tasks include a call for the deepened reform of the payment system at public hospitals. The document emphasizes that the income of medical workers should be stable and not linked to bills for drugs, medical materials, examinations, and tests.

China will also promote the national centralized volume-based procurement of drugs and medical consumables and adjust the pricing of medical services. Since 2018, the country has conducted nine rounds of volume-based procurement bids for medications and several bids for medical consumables, such as coronary stents, artificial joints, and intraocular lenses.

Additionally, the document outlines plans to improve the medical service system by enhancing health service capacity at the primary level. It aims to establish a multi-tiered healthcare insurance system, improving the basic health insurance system and promoting commercial health insurance.

The reform will also focus on drug use and management, including the mechanism of drug evaluation and approval, and the supply of drugs.

These comprehensive measures aim to address the ongoing challenges in China’s healthcare system, ensuring more affordable and high-quality healthcare services for the population.