Barriers to medical care lowered

Xu Lingchao
Cross-provincial medical settlements now a reality at hundreds of hospitals and clinics in the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai official says in a radio interview.
Xu Lingchao

More people from Anhui Province will soon be able to enjoy medical insurance more easily when they go to hospitals in Shanghai, and Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, Chen Yin, executive vice mayor of Shanghai, said on Wednesday.

During a radio interview, Chen talked about the next step in the integration of the Yangtze River Delta Region and how Shanghai will play a leading role in the process.

As integration takes hold, moving around the region will become easier. Yet, mobility also creates new demands on systems of social welfare distribution, he said.

Some senior residents asked Chen about medical care. In the past, Shanghai residents couldn’t directly settle medical insurance in other cities, nor could non-local residents settle theirs in Shanghai.

Patients had to return to where they were enrolled to be reimbursed for their medical expenses.

Chen said that 626 hospitals and clinics in the delta region now support direct cross-provincial settlement of medical expenses, thanks to a program launched in September last year.

“Some cities in Anhui, such as Hefei, already supported cross-provincial settlement,” Chen said. “And we will allow people in more cities in the Yangtze River Delta Region to enjoy the same convenience.”

Chen also said that civil affair bureaus in cities in the delta region will establish nursing institutions for elderly people with non-local residency.

Apart from medical insurance and elderly care, callers were also interested in how Shanghai will cooperate with other cities in the region during integration.

Chen said Shanghai has a lot to offer to the other cities. He took Jiaxing in Zhejiang Province as an example.

Jiaxing plays an important role in the G60 High-Tech Corridor, the Songjiang-initiated alliance of nine major cities in the delta region. Many hi-tech enterprises from Shanghai have also invested heavily in Jiaxing.

“We are also working on dead-end roads at provincial borders to facilitate residents living nearby,” Chen said.

As for cities more distant from Shanghai, such as Yancheng in Jiangsu Province, Chen said that over the past decade, Shanghai has been reaching out to these places by offering industrial and technological support.

A number of industrial parks are now based in Yancheng, where research institutions and companies pursue technological and scientific advances.

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