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Medical Fees to Be Posted

Shanghai hospitals will publish the total cost and average number of days a person will spend in hospital for all major diseases by the end of this year, health officials told a medical reform meeting yesterday.

They will also publish the average cost of one outpatient or emergency service, and the cost per day for staying in hospital.

Currently, hospitals only publish the prices of medicine and different operations, but don't make the total cost from diagnosis through treatment available for patients to comparison shop.

"Under the reform plan, patients can compare the different costs for treating one individual disease at different hospitals and choose the one that best meets their requirements," said Song Guofan, a Shanghai Health Bureau official. "We will publish a list of the prices to treat disease at different hospitals on our Website for people's reference."

Officials said the price lists will take time to create and publish.

"The final cost may still be different from the published figure, since patients can have side-effects and other unexpected problems during and after treatment," Song said.

The bureau also announced that it has established 30 quality controlling centers to supervise and direct the practice of local medical facilities and staff and enhance local medical standard.

(Shanghai Daily June 30, 2005)

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