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UPDATED: February 18, 2011
China Looking to Improve Medical Services This Year

The General Office of the State Council announced on Thursday that it had issued a document that outlines the work that the Central Government would carry out this year to advance medical reforms for the improvement of medical services to people both in urban and rural areas.

The document highlighted five areas in which the reforms would be improved. These include "significantly" improving health insurance for urban and rural residents, ensuring full-coverage of the essential medicine mechanism at the grass-roots levels, and building more county-level hospitals to improve the accessibility of medical services.

The document said that efforts would be made to allow insured people in both rural and urban areas to receive a higher ratio of subsidies for the cost of their inpatient medical treatment. The medical reforms this year would seek to raise the ratio to 70 percent.

Also, the central government would provide support to building more than 300 county-level hospitals and over 1,000 township-level hospitals this year.

The document also said that another 5,000 medical students would be enrolled at medical institutions this year. The students will serve at township hospitals after they graduate.

The country's public health care services would also conduct free health checks each year for citizens above the age of 65.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that the country would fight the tough battle to reform the health care system this year. Li said that as a trial project, comprehensive reforms for separating medical treatment services and drug sales would be initiated in government-run hospitals in 16 cities this year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2011)

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