The Beijing local government will fund the medical treatment of homeless people who are in a critical condition and encourage hospitals to accept these patients without charging deposits, according to the Beijing municipal government.
This is another attempt by the local government to provide social and medical assistance to the homeless, according to the local Beijing Times.
"As the government starts to cover the costs, homeless patients can receive timely treatment as hospitals no longer have to worry about losing profits," said Chen Yawei, publicity director with China Rehabilitation Research Center.
Beijing had set up 19 homeless shelters by 2005, providing food, shelter and medical treatment.
China had set up over 1,000 shelters in major cities by the end of last year to offer assistance to 820,000 homeless people, helping them contact family members and buying them free bus tickets to return home, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)