China will arrange closer partnerships between top-tier hospitals and grassroots medical services to provide health management and health care services for urban and rural residents alike in a more inclusive and coherent manner.
A set of new measures were approved during the State Council's executive meeting on Wednesday, presided over by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
"The goal for medical partnerships is to make quality medical care more accessible to the wider public, especially in less-developed areas," Li said.
"We've managed to achieve nation-wide medical insurance coverage and improved medical competence in grassroots medical institutions. The coverage is among the highest in the world. What we mostly need now are medical professionals," Li pointed out.
While people are demanding more and better health care with higher personal incomes, the country's current allocation in medical resources faces a tough balancing act.
The idea of building partnerships across medical institutions covering different levels aims to bridge the gap of resources.
Figures from the National Health and Family Planning Commission showed that by 2016, medical institutions partnerships have been established in 205 cities across the country.
"Currently, high quality medical resources are mostly in big cities. These should further trickle down to lower tiers so that wider demand will be met," Li said, adding that the governments must encourage joint partnerships of city-level public hospitals and grassroots institutions while imposing expenses reimbursement.
The Wednesday meeting also came up with some new measures based on current progress.
First, administrative fragmentation between administrative regions, fiscal expenses, insurance payouts and human resources will be healed, while more diversified forms of medical partnerships will be encouraged, with city or country-level hospitals playing leading roles.
The new guideline called for an Internet-based medical information platform to enable better diagnose and treatment for remote regions.
Meanwhile, further steps will be taken in allocating high quality medical resources to wider regions by dispatching teams of medical professional to less developed areas with enhanced sharing and inter-operating of health and medical services.
China will also accelerate building cascaded medical system and introduce demand-oriented and contract-based family doctors. The government plans to cover all impoverished population with such service within this year, while inviting private health care institutions to join in the effort.
The guideline also stresses on better coordination mechanisms and policies within newly established medical partnerships to ensure more balanced allocation of medical resources across medical centers of different levels.
The government encourages diverse ways of payments, and professional performances at grassroots levels will be included in the evaluation for medical practitioners, who can, in most cases, work at any organization within the partnership.
"The government needs to have well-designed, concrete guideline in building medical partnerships, taking local conditions in different regions into consideration, and local governments are encouraged to innovate in exploring systematic innovation," Li said.
He went on to stress that the reform fundamentally provides long-term benefit for the people as the country has great demand for health care, and the establishment of medical partnerships will also drive economic and social development.
(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2017)