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China to deepen medical, healthcare reform in 2024
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China to deepen medical, healthcare reform in 2024

As part of its efforts to deepen reform of medical and healthcare systems, China will act to deliver better and easier access to public medical and healthcare services, especially at the primary level, and reduce patients' financial burdens this year.

At a national conference on China's health development and deepening healthcare reform that ended on Jun 23, policymakers and practitioners discussed topics including public hospital reforms, drug supply, and medical insurance.

China has released a list of healthcare reform tasks for 2024, proposing measures concerning public healthcare services, the development of public hospitals, and drug reform.

The country will continue enhancing its public healthcare service capacity at the primary level, deepen reform of the payment system at public hospitals, and improve its healthcare insurance systems to better meet people's needs and reduce their medical costs, according to the document.

This year's reform will also give more weight to matters such as medical technological progress, multi-tiered diagnosis and treatment, and digitalized services, said Zhu Hongbiao, an official with the National Health Commission, at the conference.

Addressing the problem of high medical expenditures has been an important part of China's medical and healthcare reform. To that end, China has launched nine rounds of bulk drug procurement programs since 2018 and gradually expanded the price reform of medical services.

It is expected that the bulk purchase program will cover 500 medications this year, and pilot price reforms of medical services will be carried out in three provincial-level regions, according to health authorities.

XinhuaGu Yetao

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