Top doctor, top fee

A local hospital that has raised the registration fee of a traditional Chinese medicine doctor to 1,000 yuan (US$147) from September has caught the attention of city residents.
Top doctor, top fee

The fee for registering to see a renowned traditional Chinese medicine doctor has almost quadrupled.

The decision by a local hospital to raise the registration fee to 1,000 yuan (US$147) from September after he won an award for his work has caught the attention of the public at large.

Longhua Hospital, which is affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said the increased charge came after Liu Jiaxiang, a chief doctor and permanent professor at the hospital, won recognition for his work.

He has been crowned "TCM master" by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of China.

The current charge of Liu's special outpatient diagnosis is 268 yuan and it has not been changed for years, the hospital said.

Liu, born in 1934, is also a PhD adviser and a well-known TCM doctor in Shanghai. He won the "TCM master" in June and the hospital said it began considering adjusting his registration fee for special outpatient service as a result.

The registration fee of doctors of special outpatient services in Shanghai ranges from several hundred to several thousand yuan. There is no cap on the charge, which can be decided by hospitals based on market price, supply and demand.

Insiders said setting special outpatient services can help to relieve the shortage of medical resources and divert patients based on their different treatment demands.

But the increase still triggered a buzz.

"It is very expensive because you may have to visit doctors several times, which means the cost will pile up," said Liu Weiqiang, a retiree.

He visited the Shanghai Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine for reflux esophagitis treatment.

The charge for special outpatient service was more than 200 yuan for his case, and he visited six times.

"More than 1,000 yuan is not cheap for a retiree, and you have to get up at dawn to secure a spot," he said.

However, Joey Yang, a technology company technician, said the price is based on respect for the expertise of the doctor, and "money is not important if he can cure diseases."

"Even it is 2,000 yuan, I am willing to pay if only he can provide professional treatment."

Special Reports