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China's Healthcare Reform - TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital
Published on: 2010-12-29
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TIANJIN, China -- It is reported recently that the Statistics Center of the Ministry of Health of China will complete the design of the assessing system for the Healthcare Reform, which has been going on for two years, at the end of this year, and release the analysis report in the third quarter of next year. The purpose is to conclude the stage achievements and outcomes of China's Healthcare Reform, identify the problems, analyze the reasons, and make the timely adjustments and improvements.

Looking back on healthcare reform in any other big country, we find that the gradual improvement process in healthcare is really like a hard ice-breaking journey. Whether it is in Beijing or Washington, it takes great courage for a government to face a long-criticized healthcare system and unhappy people. At such a time, if there was an icebreaker to pioneer in exploring the ways ahead, the risk in the course of healthcare reform would be sharply decreased.

For China, which is already on the way towards medical reform, the name of this icebreaker is TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital (hereinafter referred to as "TICH").

Since its opening in 2003, TICH has implemented an innovative management system and operating mechanism, taking the lead in China's Public Hospital Reform. Over the past 7 years, TICH, the only AAA (Top Official Hospital Accreditation in China) public hospital operating under corporate governance in China, has grown from China's most characteristic cardiovascular hospital into the "International AAA Hospital" with JCI Accreditation--International Hospital Standard Accreditation. TICH not only cast aside the traditional management system which prevented hospital development, but also fully motivated the medical staff and decisively implemented the people-oriented and patient-centered ideology into the conscious behavior of all staff. TICH enlightens Chinese healthcare providers on how to solve the problem of the difficulties in getting access to medical service.

TICH took the lead in introducing the Diagnosis-related Group (DRG) payment system. It set the up-limits of medical procedure fees related to each type of patient. The over-limit part is assumed by the hospital. The implantation of this prospective payment system significantly cut down procedure fees. For example, the average surgical fee for a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting procedure is only 59,000 Yuan, 24.3% less than in the other big hospitals in Beijing and Tianjin. The past few years has witnessed a significant fall in the cost both for the individual patient and for the overall medical insurance fund, greatly relieving the burden of expensive medical treatment.

There is a "highlight" in the TICH management system ensuring the hospital's healthy development, which is the Medical Staff Performance Evaluation System. It specifies that an individual's bonus is not linked to the departmental revenue, but positively decided by the quality, quantity, technical difficulty and efficiency of the work, patient satisfaction and other factors. To prevent doctors from taking cash gift and kickbacks, the "resolute", "clever" and "strict" measures are adopted to exterminate this unethical behavior out of the system, encouraging the hospital staff to provide better services to patients, create a harmonious doctor-patient relationship, and obtain reasonable and legal monetary return.

TICH has also introduced many other advanced measures to improve medical services for the great convenience of patients. For example, the number-distribution machines used for registration resembles the calling system in banks, enabling an orderly and time-efficient waiting process; the One-Card-Through used in the clinics is quite convenient, reliable and efficient; hospitalization is like staying in a hotel; free healthy meals and companion-free care guarantee patient safety; and the Doctor-Patient Communication Platform enables video talk between family members and patients, effectively relieving the concerns of family members.

"It is the public hospitals that take the responsibility of having medical services accessible and affordable to patients. To resolve these problems once and for all, the only way is reforming. No reform, no way out. In the future, there will certainly emerge hundreds of thousands of hospitals running under the new system. This is not pure fantasy but irreversible trend." The Director of the hospital, Dr. Liu Xiaocheng holds a trenchant view on China's Public Hospital Reform.

China's Public Hospital Reform is an arduous task but a correct and feasible policy. As the icebreaker of China's Healthcare Reform, TICH has painted a beautiful picture promoting the welfare–oriented public hospital reform forward.


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