BEIJING, May 28 -- The Chinese State Council, the country's cabinet, has issued a guideline to boost healthcare reforms this year.
The guideline, announced in a government statement on Wednesday, puts forward 31 tasks in six fields to deepen the reforms.
Those in public hospitals will be stepped up through adjusting prices of medical services, improving medicine purchasing in county-level hospitals and finetuning policies and mechanisms for traditional Chinese medicines, the statement said.
According to the statement, 700 more counties will start trial reforms of their public hospitals in 2014. This means the trial reform will affect half of the country's counties and about 500 million people in rural areas.
More city hospitals will also be added in the trial reform, according to the statement. This year, at least one city in every provincial division will start the program.
The government will also take measures to encourage the opening of private hospitals, including lowering access conditions and improving the policy environment for such institutions.
Health departments will simplify procedures required to found a private hospital and adjust policies so that private and public hospitals face equal treatment in terms of operation and receiving patients covered by state health insurance programs. The authorities will also encourage doctors to start private practice.
More efforts will be made to expedite the building of a universal healthcare system, including improving coverage for serious diseases and developing commercial healthcare insurance, the statement added.