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PLA continues long march of logistics reform (3)
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14:24, July 28, 2007

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The reform started by the Jinan Military Region in July 2003 has increased efficiency to the extent that the PLA was supplying both Russian and Chinese troops during the first Sino-Russian joint military exercise, "Peace Mission 2005", Wan said, without revealing specifics.

Lang Jianzhao, deputy chief of the TJLD, said rank-and-file personnel were enjoying better medical services, and finances were more transparent.

"Before the reform, we were like the only son of the air force, under no pressure at all. They had to rely on us whether we were good or not. Now we are encouraged to compete in the market and raise profits through better services," said Zhou Keliang, deputy chief of the No. 456 hospital.

Like a dozen other hospitals brought under TJLD control, the No. 456 hospital competes against both civilian and military rivals. By signing up skilled civilian nurses and doctors and finding a niche market in maternity and child hygiene, the hospital collected 48.7 million yuan (6.49 million U.S. dollars) in revenues last year, nearly double the sum of 2002, the year before the reform.

As the medical allowance for enlisted personnel never exceeds 1,000 yuan per person, China''s military hospitals have long been subsidizing the medical costs of service personnel. If a hospital has a poor balance sheet, it will have to treat the soldiers on the cheap and confine its expenditure within the allowance.

"With greater profits, we can afford to prescribe better and more expensive medicines to military patients and upgrade medical facilities," Zhou said. Last year, the hospital subsidized the treatment of enlisted personnel by 12 million yuan (1.6 million U.S. dollars), nearly eight times more than the 2002 level.

The TJLD has also persuaded commercial banks to sign emergency fund supply agreements with all the region''s units above division and brigade level.

The TJLD also serves as chief accountant of the region, responsible for all budgeted funding from the General Department of Logistics to grassroots units through a unified accounting system.

The PLA leadership has yet to announce if it extend the practice across the armed forces, but Lang Jianzhao argues it is a necessity.

"It has taken 58 years and numerous experiments to get here. If we stick to the reform of joint logistics support, we can really modernize the armed forces and maintain our combat readiness in the information era," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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