Pilot provinces on medical reform shared their experiences at a press conference held by the National Health Commission in Tongling, East China’s Anhui province, on June 26.
Tiered medical treatment, modern hospital management, universal medical insurance, medicine supply guarantee and medical service improvement were some of the issues addressed at the press conference.
In 2015, the State Council leading group on medical reform decided to carry out trials of comprehensive medical reform at the provincial level. Currently, there are 11 provinces from two rounds of trial reform that have participated: East China’s Shanghai municipality and Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian, Zhejiang provinces, Northwest China’s Qinghai and Shaanxi provinces, and Ningxia Hui autonomous region, and Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality and Sichuan province, as well as Central China’s Hunan province.
Liang Wannian, head of the National Health Commission’s division of institutional reform, said that the 11 pilot provinces have achieved commendable practices with innovative attempts, playing a pioneering role in the reform.
The provinces have established strong leadership and mechanisms, and adopted innovative measures to promote the reform.
Anhui, one of the first pilot provinces, took the lead in abolishing markups on medicines and high-value medical consumables in public hospitals. Also, Zhejiang province promoted some mobile applications, including one that allows patients to make one-time payments after finishing the diagnosis process, instead of paying separately for examination, test, pharmacy and treatment.
The focus of comprehensive medical reform, Liang said, is to tackle the difficulty in accessing medical services and the high expenses. The pilot provinces have taken measures to optimize the distribution of healthcare resources and set up a tiered medical system. For example, they instituted reforms at county- and township-level healthcare institutions, encouraged and supported opening private hospitals, and increased the use of cheaper and more accessible traditional Chinese medicines.
Additionally, they worked to lower inflated medicine prices, increased comprehensive reform at public hospitals and expanded medical security.
The commission will further improve and deepen the medical reform and present the pilot provinces as benchmarks for the nationwide campaign, Liang added.