Local hospitals try new medical payment system

A leading heart surgeon began trialling a new payment method which charges patients based on their specific medical problem, rather than separate items.

A leading heart surgeon began trialling a new payment method which charges patients based on their specific medical problem, rather than separate items, after the national government announced the new format earlier this year.

Paying the bill based on a general disease is more scientific — the policy will be gradually promoted across the nation in an effort to further public health reform, officials said.

“Such payment is clear for each patient, who will know the exact charge after their disease is confirmed and needn’t have extra worry about their medical bills,” said Dr Cheng Yunge, who set up the system at the Shanghai Yodak Cardio-Thoracic Hospital. 

“Since the bill is set, we can avoid doctors prescribing unnecessary medicines and conducting unnecessary checks and treatments."

He said some regions have started trials of the new payment system which has so far received good results.

“Our workshop set the prices for nine diseases after careful investigation and calculation. For example, the price for single valve replacement under endoscope is 80,000 yuan (US$12,140), while the market price is about 100,000 yuan,” Cheng said. 

“Since the price is set, doctors will strictly follow clinical guidance and give the most reasonable and economic treatment plan. Any excessive cost will be covered by doctors themselves.”

Hospital officials said the new charging format is good for the relationship between doctors and patients. 

"Many patients’ distrust stems from some facilities’ unreasonably seeking profit by questioning whether the checks and treatments are necessary,” said Dr Xiao Mingdi, president of Shanghai Yodak. 

“If the bill is set, patients won’t have such worries and they can have more trust in doctors and hospitals."


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