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China plans new medical payment system


18:30, February 19, 2013

Key Words:medical paymen; policy
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Patients will be able to "pay after" they receive medical treatment as part of a new payment method, China's Ministry of Health revealed Tuesday.

According to Jiao Yahui, an official with the MOH medical administration division, more than 20 provincial regions are exploring the new payment method.

In response to media reports that said the new payment system will be implemented across the country this year, Jiao said a "pay after" method will not be adopted nationwide in the short term due to an immature social credit system and insufficient medical insurance.

Currently, Chinese citizens must pay first before receiving operations and treatment.

Patients must pay their bills and then apply for a reimbursement covered by medical insurance, usually more than 70 percent of the total treatment fees.

In August 2011, there was nationwide public criticism after a nightshift doctor in central Hubei Province removed the stitches on the split tendons of a patient's right hand as the patient did not have enough money to pay the medical fees.

Once the new system is implemented, patients, especially those suffering extreme conditions, will receive treatment first. After the treatment, patients will only pay the part that is not included in the medical insurance. The rest will be paid to hospitals by the government.

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