Friday, 20 June 2014

Chinese media ramps up attacks on hospital managers and profiteering

China's state controlled media is this week focusing a lot of attention on hospital profiteering and mismanagement. In one story, a financial reporter asks why patients with a health insurance card are charged 300 yuan for a medicine while patients without insurance are charged 20 yuan for a similar drug that they have to pay for out of their own pockets. An anonymous pharmacist interviewed by the reporter said the two drugs were similar in efficacy, but one was a newer and more expensive brand. She said the reason why the doctor prescribed the more expensive drug was because the insurance company would cover the additional cost, and the doctor and hospital would gain a much higher commission. This was a prime example of  the "Yi Yao Yang Yi" ("relying on drugs to nourish doctors") phenomenon that the government is hoping to stamp out. In another article, state media outlet Xinhua has highlighted the top heavy management of local hospitals. One if it's top stories today is about a country hospital that had 12 staff, of whom 4 were managers. The article asks why hospitals have so many bureaucrats when there is a shortage of doctors in many areas. It also questions how hospital managers are appointed, saying that many are unqualified for the task of efficiently managing healthcare resources.

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