Pharmaceutical News
For charity or for profit? The focus of the revision of the Healthcare Act

Reported by Huang An-Chi and Deng Guei-Fen from Taipei

The revision of the Healthcare Act is the most important topic in this legislative session.  The recent collective resignation staged by the doctors in the A&E ward of the Chang Gong Memorial Hospital has sparked a national debate and attracted the public’s attention on the revision of the Healthcare Act.  A panel of experts was invited to discuss the future of the healthcare industry in Taiwan.  They stressed that the revision of the Healthcare Act will have a profound effect on the nation and affect everyone and every generation.  The stakeholders should build a consensus that healthcare corporations should be defined as charitable organizations.

The Appacus Foundation and the Taiwan Research Fund jointly held a forum on the impact of the revision of Healthcare Act on the future development of healthcare corporations.

The discussion panel formed four consensuses: 1. Healthcare corporations should be operated as charitable organizations; 2. The donations made by healthcare corporations belong to the society; 3. Healthcare corporations’ revenue should be managed by the government and be allocated to researches, social welfare and the improvement of health workers’ salaries; 4. Healthcare corporations’ investment in the stock market should be restricted; and the board members of healthcare corporations should not act as board members of their invested companies.


Huang Huang-Hsiung, the founder of the Taiwan Research Fund, stressed that this law amendment provides an opportunity to overhaul the healthcare environment.  It is not meant to target on any particular hospitals. 

Keep Information Transparent and Public

Chen Chong, the President of the Appacus Foundation, pointed out that, at present, big healthcare corporations work like holding companies.  They should be properly managed and subject to supervision.  Chen hoped that relevant laws are available to regulate all corporations so as to keep the information transparent and public.  This will encourage the corporations to demonstrate self-discipline. 

Chen Chong also pointed out that the government provides many tax relief measures for corporations.  However, it means that the government has to impose a heavier tax on other parties.  In addition to the revision of the Healthcare Act, the government should also establish the “Corporation Act” to regulate tens of thousands corporations in Taiwan.  Chen conceded that it would be a difficult task as all foundations are tightly linked with politicians.

Hospitals are Public Goods

Yang Chi-Liang, a former DOH Minister, stressed that hospitals are considered public goods by the WHO and in western countries.  In Taiwan, healthcare corporations should be renamed as “charitable corporations” so as to stress their role as charitable organizations and to stress that they are for good causes not for profits. 

Yang pointed out that the mentality of some healthcare corporations who believe that hospitals are for profits has to be changed. The board of a healthcare corporation is supposed to supervise the corporation on behalf of the society.  Therefore, the MOHW should be authorized to dismiss any board which fails its purposes.  The corporation’s assets have to be monitored.  All incomes from dividends and interests should be included in the hospital’s income.

Chiang Dong-Liang, the President of Taiwan Research Fund, expressed that healthcare corporations disappoint the society because they are not able to keep a balance between charitable works and market performances.  That’s the reason behind this law amendment. 

The Law Amendment Concerns Everyone

Huang Huang-Hsiung pointed out that the walkout of doctors in Chang Gong led to this law amendment.  However, the success of the amendment relies on whether there are consensuses among the stakeholders.  It affects the allocation of resources and the sustainability of the NHI.  Huang urged the public to be proactively involved in this law amendment.

【2017-12-04/United Daily News】