Reported by Lin Hui-Cin from Taipei
The incoming Premier, Lin Chuan, has appointed Dr Lee Po-Chang, the current Superintendent of the Tainan Hospital, as the next NHIA Director to take charge of the NT$600 billion NHI budget. Dr Lee is a leading authority on renal transplant and also the Director of the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center. Though he does not have as much practical experiences in administration as his predecessors, Dr Lee has been working all the way up in the healthcare system and has a full understanding of the day-to-day problems faced by the health professionals. His appointment brings new hope to the health industry.
Chang Chi-Hua, the President of the Taiwan Medical Alliance for Labor Justice and Patient Safety, welcomes this appointment. He expressed that Dr Lee Po-Chang has many times written articles to promote the implementation of the co-payment system and the referral system. Dr Lee will run the NHI from a health professional’s viewpoint, rather than just focus on cost control. Chang Chi-Hua suggested that the hospital accreditation system should be separated from the NHI reimbursement so that hospital reforms can be fully carried out.
After the announcement of his appointment, Dr Lee said that he immediately bought books written by Yang Chi-Liang, a former DOH Minister, in order to learn from Yang’s experiences. Yang Chi-Liang said he cannot comment on this appointment, because he doesn’t know Dr Lee very well. However, Yang said that being a good doctor doesn’t imply that he has the ability to manage the whole over-complicated NHI system. But, yang gave his advices. He suggested doing more reading and learning and supervising diligently. Stop hospitals from falling into the trap of arms race and tiring out the front-line health professionals would be the top priority, said Yang Chi-Liang.