BEIJING — Chinese government subsidies to public hospitals have increased by 15.6 percent annually since 2010, a health official said on June 14.
The government allocated 270.5 billion yuan ($39.26 billion) of subsidies directly to public hospitals in 2018, up from 84.9 billion yuan in 2010, said Zhu Hongbiao, a senior official with the National Health Commission, at a press conference.
However, government funds only accounted for about 10 percent of the total revenue of public hospitals by the end of 2018, Zhu said.
Public hospitals in China used to have three main sources of revenue — service charges, additive charges on medicines and direct government subsidies.
An ongoing nationwide reform on public hospitals, which was unveiled in 2017, aimed to remove the additive charge on medicine.
"The revenue of public hospitals will depend on service charges," Zhu said.
Local health departments have explored various ways to reform the pricing of service charges so as to make it affordable for the public, he said.
They were asked to adopt a gradual approach in raising medical service charge, including the fees of diagnosis, surgery, rehabilitation, nursing and traditional Chinese medicine, according to Zhu.
The raised service charge will be included in the reimbursement of medical insurance schemes so as not to increase the cost, he said, adding that authorities will also work to lower the cost of examinations using large medical equipment.
The ongoing reform was also expected to improve the salary, welfare and working environment for hospital staff, he said.