Promoting public hospital reform and direct settlement of medical expenses away from home, which are among the top issues of public concern, will be the key tasks for medical reform during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).
The State Council’s executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Dec 21 approved two guidelines to improve health care and medical services and push ahead medical reform in the coming five years.
Since the nationwide basic medical insurance network has been set up, the next step will be promoting resource sharing among hospitals in cities, counties, villages and communities within a region, and bringing the “Internet Plus” strategy into healthcare, both in an effort to make more resources in big cities go to local hospitals, Premier Li said.
It is important to integrate the resources of public hospitals and community clinics, breaking through the administrative structure and introducing enterprise-style management, said the Premier, who hailed the test practice in Luohu, of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, at a conference a month ago.
Premier Li promised a two-year timetable to achieve cross-provincial settlement of hospitalization fees for elderly patients at a news conference in March, in response to a question selected from an online poll.
Progress has been made. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Dec 21 that China will achieve national portability of medical insurance by the end of 2016, and at the same time start the direct settlement of medical costs for retirees away from home.
China should begin cross-provincial settlement of hospitalization expenses by 2017, according to the Premier.