7 Dec 2010 09:26

State Council issues grassroots medical reform stimuli

Shanghai. December 7. INTERFAX-CHINA - China's State Council has issued its latest raft of measures to stimulate reform of grassroots medical services after the zero markup policy for essential drug prices caused losses among clinics, according to a Dec. 6 announcement on the central government Web site.

The announcement comes after the council discussed the issue in a meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jianbao.

According to the announcement, government subsidies and service charges - rather than drug sales - should be the two main sources of revenue for grassroots medical institutions. The cost of medical equipment and infrastructure should be borne by authorities.

Government funding for grassroots institutions, which was at least RMB 15 ($2.25) per resident in 2010, will be increased in 2011.

The announcement also urged grassroots medical institutions to introduce employment contracts for staff, ensure their salaries do not fall, and establish an effective system to appraise performance.

Local governments were asked to give subsidies to village doctors, and village clinics should receive subsidies to provide public services.

In addition, both public and private grassroots medical institutions should be covered by the new rural cooperative medical insurance system, according to the announcement.

Over 50 percent of China's grassroots medical institutions have implemented the essential drug system to date.

- KZ