Credit services provide easier access for patients

Updated: Aug 24, 2023 China Daily Print
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Major hospitals in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other cities in Guangdong province are offering medical services on credit, making it more convenient for patients to see a doctor.

According to the Guangdong Medical Security Credit Management Measures draft, patients who qualify for the program do not have to pay on-site for medical examinations, tests, treatment and medicine.

Payment can be completed via a credit platform in one lump sum within a specified time period, according to details of the measures issued by the Guangdong Provincial Healthcare Security Bureau.

Previously, patients had to wait in line to pay in advance for registration, examination, tests and treatment, causing a waste of time.

Patients aged 18 and above, who have paid social security or medical insurance can sign a contract with a credit platform to see a doctor, according to the measures, which were issued in June.

The credit platform sets credit limits for residents who meet the conditions, and will send a text message to the patients to remind them how much they owe and when they have to pay for the medical treatment and services, it said.

Major hospitals are now promoting the credit services, which they say save money and time for both hospitals and patients.

Hao Yinghua, deputy director of Guangzhou Healthcare Security Administration's Medical Insurance Service Center, said the introduction of credit medical services in the city will further promote the efficiency and convenience of medical services for residents.

Medical insurance providers in Guangzhou will accelerate the development of the "Internet Plus" medical-services model to better serve residents and assist them when medical help is urgently needed, she said.

"Promoting credit medical services is one of the key tasks to deepen medical reform in the city this year, and is listed as one of the 10 major livelihood projects in Guangzhou in 2023," she said in an interview with China Daily.

Hao said the credit medical services currently cover only locals who have paid the city's medical insurance. However, in the future the services will be made available to those who have purchased medical insurance in other parts of the country.

A doctor from Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, said such services have reduced the long queues at hospitals' charging windows and self-service machines. Fewer patients now need assistance from hospital staff on how to use unfamiliar equipment, said the doctor who asked to remain anonymous.

Xu Jianping, chief accountant at Huadu District People's Hospital in Guangzhou, said using credit medical services to see a doctor is convenient for the patient and should be promoted in hospitals citywide in the coming months.

"The credit platform is similar to a ride-hailing one, allowing patients to see doctors without any payment in advance," Xu said in an interview with China Daily.

"It is very secure for hospitals and medical institutions, as credit medical services are carried out through a third-party financial institution. Therefore, there are no arrears for the hospitals," she said.

"Meanwhile, users can earn some credit card points after they pay for the medical bills with their credit cards."

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