Private medicine gets govt support

Private medicine gets govt support

The Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau will fully implement a new regulation for privately funded medical institutions in an effort to improve the quality of healthcare in the city, local media reported Monday.

The regulation, which the Shanghai municipal government issued in February, aims to give medical institutions created with private investment their own rules, guidelines and incentive policies. Currently, private medical institutions in the city operate under the same rules as public hospitals.

"The new regulation will lay out a policy framework for the development of the city's private medical institutions," said Shi Shide, a director in charge of the evaluation of non-governmental medical institutions at the Shanghai Association for Non-governmental Medical Institutions.

The health bureau's director, Xu Jianguang, said that the new regulation will help clear the red tape for private medical institutions to be established, according to a report in the Shanghai Evening Post. It will provide the institutions with rules for taxation, medical device purchasing and advertising. It also requires government agencies to consider private medical institutions in their planning and to encourage qualified enterprises, foundations and charity organizations to build medical institutions to provide the services that public hospitals lack, Shi said.

"It will be important to have non-governmental medical institutions across the city because they can help meet the growing demand for diverse medical services and can compete with public hospitals, which will eventually improve the overall quality of service," Shi told the Global Times.

The regulation offers incentives for nonprofit medical institutions that provide nursing services for the elderly, physical rehabilitation, psychiatric care and maternity care when they apply for loans and land use.

Because Shanghai's population of residents over the age of 60 grew to 3.67 million in 2012, there is an urgent need for more retirement homes in the city. Shanghai had 631 retirement homes with more than 100,000 beds at the end of 2011, plus 68 nursing homes and geriatric hospitals.

"Privately funded medical institutions can supplement the services of public hospitals and reach areas where the latter cannot cover," Shi said.

The new regulation also encourages overseas funding of medical institutions, especially investment from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.