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Beijing Sets Up Welfare Hospital

A welfare hospital to serve needy people opened on Wednesday in Beijing. The hospital is for the people who cannot afford normal medical expenses because they have no income or life support, or because they are handicapped, says Li Jianping, a social welfare official at Beijing's civil affairs bureau.

The hospital is funded by the government budget and the welfare lottery and has first-class medical facilities and personnel, said Beijing Youth Daily on Thursday.

The hospital has 150 beds and the charge is 30 to 60 percent cheaper than other hospitals.

The most important thing is to save life and the hospital will of course provide standard service to patients even though they cannot afford the expense, Li indicated.

It is also a supplemental measure to ongoing reform of a social welfare system which requires citizens to pay for their health care.

Sources say that China has pushed forward key reforms of the urban health care system to ensure fair and good quality medical services for all under a socialist market economy to replace the old free cradle-to-grave welfare system.

Nearly one third of China's provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions have achieved a more balanced distribution of health care resources in the past year, improved community-based medical services, and have established a comprehensive disease- control network.

About 178 cities have begun piloting community-based medical services, accounting for over 70 percent of above county-level cities.

Experts have also urged public health departments at various levels to improve professional ethics and services.

(China Daily December 28, 2001)

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