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Hospitals in Jiangsu to Offer Cheaper Medical Care

Four more hospitals in this capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province will provide more affordable medical care for the residents with financial difficulty, bringing the total number of the hospitals to do so to eight in the city.

According to the Nanjing Health Bureau, the four new hospitals will offer service and medicine at lower costs than usual or even free of charge.

The preferential policy at the new sites will not only cover citizens with the lowest standards of living but also migrant workers and their families in the city, Huang Yilong, vice-director of the bureau, was quoted as saying by the Beijing-based China Daily.

It provides free examinations and medical treatment fees for outpatients, and half-price examinations, operations and hospitalization expenses for full admissions.

Although it is planned that all migrant workers in Nanjing will eventually benefit from the policy, only those living near the new hospitals will be able to enjoy cheaper treatment, said Huang.

Health Minister Gao Qiang said early this month that the high cost of medical service was due to many hospitals selling high-price medicines and services.

He claimed that local authorities at various levels needed to turn some state-owned hospitals into social-welfare oriented ones.

The designated hospitals would be given more governmental financial support to encourage them to reduce their prices of medicines and services as they treated poorer people, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2006)


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