Hospital fee adjustments won't raise medical bills

Updated: 2015-05-22 17:49


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Adjustment of service fees charged by hospitals in China will not cause a rise in medical bills for patients, a top health official said on Friday.

All county-level hospitals, which cover more than 900 million Chinese people, will stop the practice of selling drugs for up to 15 percent higher than what they pay to buy them from pharmaceutical companies, an important source of income for public hospitals, according to a guideline issued by the State Council earlier this month.

After the reform hospitals will only rely on fees they get from treating patients and from government subsidies as their sources of income.

"Hospitals' revenues will decrease because of the loss," Sun Zhigang, deputy minister in charge of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said. "The loss will be compensated by a number of other ways, including adjusting charges for medical services, increasing the government subsidy and reducing operating costs of hospitals."

Clinic and treatment fees, surgery fees and nursing fees will be increased, while check-up fees by big medical equipment (Q: what does "check-up fees by big medical equipment mean? Should this be "… while charges for tests using expensive medical equipment will be reduced" ?)will be reduced, Sun said.

"We will ensure the adjustment of medical service prices will not pose a burden to people's medical expenses through measures such as increasing medical insurance's share in the medical bills," he said.

Public hospitals generally sell prescription drugs at prices higher than the purchase price, which gives them incentives to buy more expensive drugs, and doctors are encouraged to prescribe more drugs to patients, a major reason for patients' complaints, according to experts.