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Medical Service Price Reform Guidelines Expected Before Year-End

The first draft of the guiding opinions on China's medical service price reform has been completed and is ready for public comments. The final draft is expected to come out before the end of this year.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the departments concerned have intensified their efforts to reform the medical service pricing mechanism in recent years. These efforts include launching pilot reforms on regulating the prices of individual medical service items and charging fees according to the type of disease and service provider. In particular, the local authorities are instructed to lend their support to the reform of public hospitals. Policies and measures such as abolishing drug markups, adjusting medical service prices, changing the payment methods and making the provision of medical care the responsibility of the government have given a great impetus to the establishment of the new compensation mechanism for medical institutions as well as the optimisation of the hospital revenue structure. They have also stimulated the enthusiasm of medical workers and put public hospitals on a healthy course of development.

Medical service fees and charges on the mainland have yet to be put on a rational basis. Existing medical service prices cannot fully reflect the value of medical workers as skilled practitioners due to factors such as the way drugs are prescribed and diagnostic service is provided by medical institutions, and the payment capacity of medical insurance funds. The pricing irregularities of medical services often add to the medical expenses of the masses.

The reform will focus on the correct handling of government-market relations and the establishment of a price formation mechanism with classified management, dynamic adjustment and participation by multiple stakeholders in the next stage in order to deepen the reform of the medical and health system as a whole. Towards public hospitals with a strong demand for customised services, it is necessary to promptly deregulate prices to promote competition and provide better services needed by members of the public.

In reforming the medical service pricing mechanism, it is necessary to strengthen the coordination of policies on pricing, medical insurance and medical care, with emphasis on the three aspects, including giving full leverage to the cost control effects of medical insurance, establishing a scientific compensation mechanism, and reducing the burdens of patients. Every effort must be made to ensure the smooth operation of medical institutions and see to it that medical insurance funds can afford the payments and will not add to the burdens of the masses.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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