China to deepen efforts in integrating medical, elderly care
The Chinese government will deepen the integration of medical and elderly care by streamlining approval procedures, providing favorable tax and fee policies, and developing insurances for such integrated services, in an effort to better meet the needs of senior citizens for health and aged care.
The decision was made Wednesday at the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
"Integrating medical and elderly care services, as a subject, has been in discussion for quite a few years. It is high time to make concrete breakthroughs. Such services are in high demand among senior citizens, and can also help ease the burden on the young people," Li said. "The government must focus its efforts on addressing people's pressing needs and concerns. Our efforts should serve the dual ends of promoting development and raising people's living standards. In fact, improving people's lives in itself is a boost to development."
Measures for further promoting integrated medical and elderly care were adopted at Wednesday's meeting. The approval procedures for institutions providing integrated medical and elderly services will be simplified. The requirements for administrative approval and occupational registration will be combined for elderly care institutions to set up medical facilities at Grade II or below.
Medical institutions that plan to provide elderly care with existing resources are only required of a record-filing process on qualifications for construction and fire control.
The government will encourage private actors to open integrated medical and elderly care institutions by improving the pricing mechanism, rescinding unjustified procedures and providing single-window services.
"We must facilitate the participation of private actors and follow market principles. In particular, there needs to be a greater variety of insurance products," Li said.
Cooperation will be encouraged between elderly care institutions and institutions providing medical, rehabilitation and nursing services. Home-visit medical services will be supported, and the training of professionals in related fields, nursing care in particular, will be intensified.
Favorable taxation and land-using policies for such integrated service providers will be implemented. Medical services charges that fall within the scope of basic medical insurances will be paid by basic medical insurance funds.
Places where conditions permit will be encouraged to incorporate, over time, more medical rehabilitation services into the basic medical insurance scheme.
Insurances for integrated service of medical and elderly care will be developed. More varieties of commercial insurances will be made available for senior citizens. The pilot program of long-term nursing insurance will be promoted at a faster pace.
"In promoting the integration of medical and elderly care services, key policies such as pricing must be improved," Li said.