BEIJING — China will take solid measures to promote medical and old-age care integration, according to a press conference held by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Sept 17.
With the ever-growing aging population, medical and elderly care systems independent of each other can hardly meet senior citizens' needs for multi-level and diversified health and elderly care services, said Wang Jianjun, an official with the commission.
By the end of 2018, the country had about 250 million citizens aged 60 and above, accounting for 17.9 percent of the total population, said Wang, also executive deputy director of the Office of the National Working Commission on Aging.
Meanwhile, nearly 180 million elderly people have chronic diseases and more than 40 million are totally or partially unable to take care of themselves in China, said Wang.
China has pushed forward the integration of medical and elderly care since 2015.
Currently, China has nearly 4,000 institutions providing integrated medical and elderly services, while over 20,000 medical institutions have established contracted cooperation with elderly care institutions.
A total of 90 state-level pilot cities have been selected, and provincial-level pilot units have been set up in 22 provincial regions for integrated medical and elderly care services, said Wang.
According to Wang, the NHC will give more priority to communities and rural areas in its work to advance the integration of medical and old-age care.
More facilities will be built to provide concentrated or home-based elderly health care services for those who are unable to take care of themselves, Wang said.
The NHC will raise the quality of integrated services, intensify management of institutions providing such services, and make the services more digitalized.
The NHC will also encourage social investment in building institutions in this regard, Wang said.
A State Council executive meeting on Sept 11 passed a guideline on deepening medical and old-age care integration, which will be released soon, according to the press conference.