The year of 2019 is the tenth year of the so-called “New Medical and Healthcare System Reform” (the “Reform”) which was launched in full scale in 2009. Recently, the General Office of the State Council issued a key document on deepening the Reform, namely, the 2019 Major Tasks on Deepening the Medical and Healthcare System Reform (the “2019 Major Tasks”), which, compared with the major tasks documents issued previously in recent years, the 2019 Major Tasks is featured with language that is more concise and tasks that are heavier, with its particular focus on the key and difficult issues in the Reform. Since the implementation of the 2019 Major Tasks will have a significant impact on pharmaceutical companies, medical institutions and the general public, we hope to better help with your understanding of the 2019 Major Tasks by analyzing the tasks and providing necessary background information thereof in this article.
Part I. The 2019 Major Tasks in General: with the Health of the People as the Core, Aiming to Solve the Problem of “Getting Medical Treatment Being Difficult and Expensive” It is set forth in the preface to the 2019 Major Tasks that in 2019 the work of deepening the Reform shall be to conscientiously implement the decisions and arrangements of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (the “Central Committee”) and the State Council on implementing the national policy of “Healthy China” and deepening of the Reform, to shift the core of the Reform from disease treatment to the general health condition of the people, to persist in ensuring the provision and quality of the basic medical and healthcare service, strengthening the ability of providing medical and healthcare service at the community level, and establishing a sound mechanism of medical and healthcare service, to enhance the prevention of diseases and the improvement of health, solving the problem of “getting medical treatment being difficult and expensive”, and deepen the coordinated reform of medical care, medical security and medical products, in order to improve the general wellbeing of the public. The 2019 Major Tasks requires that 15 legal/policy documents be made and that 21 specific tasks be implemented. The 15 documents required by the 2019 Major Tasks to be made respectively focus on the Healthy China campaign, promoting the healthy and lawful development of private medical institutions, list of encouraged generic drugs, further regulating the usage of medical consumables, further deepening the Reform with the centralized procurement and use of drugs as a breakthrough, medication management in public medical institutions, charges for Internet diagnosis and treatment and medical insurance payment, reforming the title system of technical personnel of the healthcare professional, establishing and improving the healthcare service system for the elderly, performance appraisal of public medical institutions of the second or lower grades, enhancing the management of doctors, administration of medical consortiums, reform of the salary system in the public hospitals, improving the accounts of employee medical insurance, and regulating the use of medical insurance fund. The 21 specific tasks required by the 2019 Major Tasks to be implemented mainly focus on three aspects, namely, to eliminate the difficulty of getting medical treatment, to lower the costs of the medical treatments, and to enhance management of hospitals. From the perspective of eliminating the difficulty of getting medical treatment, which incorporates the idea of better integrating and allocating medical resources, relevant tasks include to promote the development of national and regional medical centers, to orderly develop medical consortiums and promote a hierarchical medical system, to deepen the reform of streamlining administration, delegating powers and improving services and provide support for private medical institutions, to promote “Internet + healthcare”, to promote the comprehensive medical reform in counties, to carry out the Healthy China campaign, and to strengthen the prevention of severe diseases including cancer, etc. From the perspective of lowering the costs of the medical treatment, relevant tasks include to promote the centralized procurement and use of drugs organized by the state, to promote the reform of medical consumables of high value, to enhance and improve the national essential drugs system, to promote the reform of the medical insurance payment method, to improve the mechanism for making compensation for public hospitals, to deepen the comprehensive reform of public hospitals, and to further poverty alleviation in the health aspect, etc. From the perspective of enhancing hospital management, relevant tasks include to carry out performance appraisal of public hospitals and to further improve medical services, etc. The 2019 Major Tasks also makes clear the departments in charge of or engaged in the tasks respectively, and a timetable for making all the required legal/policy documents.