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Medical fare hearing sees heated debate
Latest Updated by 2005-06-30 18:06:27

Some 13 out of 35 representatives at a medical price hearing opposed the reform package Tuesday, while another 10 said the price change should be postponed.

The provincial health department and pricing bureau arranged the hearing in Guangzhou to gather views on a medical pricing plan that would alter 349 service prices, which they said would better balance service account books.

The representatives disagreeing with the plan said the medical expenses were still too high for the public to afford after the reform. They were unhappy that although there would be a 1 percent reduction in terms of average medical fare, the hospitals would raise the prices for more frequently used items while reducing the cost of infrequently used items.

The proposal planned to cut large device service fees by 16.8 percent on average, including magnetic resonance imaging, computer tomography, X-ray knife treatment and Gamma knife treatment, while raising the prices for 127 common practices such as registration fee, nursing fee and accouchement fee.

I don't think the public can benefit from the new prices, as the prices for most common medical items rise,?? said Shui Hui, who used to be a public hospital nurse. She said the new prices should be more patient-oriented rather than profit-oriented.

Another representative, Zhang Xiaoye, an engineer from a electrical appliances joint venture, said the government should hire a third party to audit the plan rather than set the prices itself.

Zhu Shutang, from a village in the remote city of Qingyuan, said more attention should be given to patients in poor areas.

Only 12 representatives agreed with the new prices. Lin Zhanyi, a medical worker, argued that high medical fares meant the hospitals could provide better training for doctors and nurses to improve the service.

The hearing invited the 35 representatives from all over the province, including five medical operators, five government workers, five social organization members, four experts and 15 people from other fields.

Another 60 citizen representatives attended the hearing.

The provincial health department and pricing bureau said people could continue to send their comments by phone, letters or e-mails in a week.

Details of the plan are published on the pricing bureau's Web site, http://www.gdpi.gov.cn.

Editor: Yan Tan Xiaomi

By: Source:Szdaily web edition
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