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Soc Sci Med. 1995 Oct; 41(8): 1057-64.

The reforms of the Chinese health care system: county level changes: the Jiangxi Study.

Zheng X, Hillier S.

Joint Department of Human Science & Medical Ethics, London Hospital Medical College, England.

A survey of the economic performance of county hospitals in middle income counties in Jiangxi province was undertaken in 1989. The survey considered the impact of health policy changes in the P.R.C., especially cost recovery, decentralization, managerial changes and the promotion of traditional medicine. The financial records of county level hospitals and traditional medicine hospitals for the period 1980-89 were examined, as were patient expenditures. Opinions of those responsible for policy execution were surveyed. The data showed that hospitals from which state subsidy had been removed had become dependent on medicine sales and increasing itemization of treatment to recover costs. The insurance status of patients influenced the length of stay and levels of payment. Uninsured peasants had a shorter stay and were charged more for items of treatment. Traditional Medicine hospitals saw more outpatients than County hospitals, but were more likely to have a deficit. They were also very dependent on medicine sales for income. Most officials questioned felt that the changing system caused problems, but at the same time were eager to invest in equipment as a source of revenue.

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