Medical, elderly care integration supported

‘Concrete breakthroughs’ needed, Li says at State Council executive meeting

China will support the integration of medical and elderly care by streamlining approval procedures and developing insurance for integrated services to better meet the needs of senior citizens.

The decision was made on Wednesday at the State Council’s executive meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

“Integrating medical and elderly care services, as a subject, has been in discussion for quite a few years. It is high time to make concrete breakthroughs. Such services are in high demand among senior citizens and can also help ease the burden on young people,” Li said.

“The government must focus its efforts on addressing people’s pressing needs and concerns. Our efforts should serve the dual ends of promoting development and raising people’s living standards. In fact, improving people’s lives in itself is a boost to development,” he added.

Measures for further promoting integrated medical and elderly care were adopted at the meeting on Wednesday.

Approval procedures for institutions providing integrated medical and elderly services will be simplified. Requirements for administrative approval and occupational registration will be combined for elderly care institutions to set up medical facilities below certain levels.

Private entities will be encouraged to open such integrated services institutions. Cooperation will be encouraged between elderly care institutions and institutions providing medical, rehabilitation and nursing services. Home-visit medical services will be supported.

“We must facilitate the participation of private actors and follow market principles. In particular, there needs to be a greater variety of insurance products,” Li said.

Meeting participants also decided that favorable policies targeting integrated medical and elderly care service providers, such as tax and fee cuts, must be implemented to the full.

Where conditions permit, there will be encouragement to incorporate, over time, more medical rehabilitation services into the basic medical insurance plan.

The meeting also urged development of insurance for integrated medical and elderly care, while stepping up the improvement of insurance products for long-term nursing.

“In promoting the integration of medical and elderly care services, key policies such as pricing must be improved,” Li said.