Pharmaceutical News
New policy prompts big hospitals to reduce outpatient service volume

Reported by Lin Hui-Cin from Taipei

In order to fully implement the graded healthcare system and to ease big hospitals’ workload, the NHIA introduced a new policy in July, requesting medical centers and regional hospitals to reduce outpatient service volume by 2%.  The target is to reduce the service by 10% in 5 years.  After that, excessive services will not be reimbursed; and some outpatient services will be reserved for referral patients only.  The latest data shows that 42% medical centers and 54% regional hospitals have reached the NHIA’s target.

Tsai Shu-Ling, the Deputy Director of the NHIA, expressed that big hospitals’ outpatient service volume has been in decline since the implementation of the new target. So far, 42% of medical centers and 54% of regional hospitals have reached the target.

The data of the number of outpatient visits from January to August shows that medical centers and regional hospitals experienced a decrease in the ratio from 11.17% to 10.7% and from 15.45% to 15.15% respectively.  On the contrary, district hospitals and primary care clinics experienced an increase in the ratio from 10.08% to 10.22% and 63.3% to 63.93% respectively.   The system is reaching a new balance, said Tsai Shu-Ling, the Deputy Director of the NHIA.

The data also shows that hospitals participating in a vertically integrated service alliance had higher referral rate and return rate than those not involved in any integrated alliance.  The results suggest that an integrated service alliance helps promoting the referral system.

Dr Lee Po-Chang, the General Director of the NHIA, stressed that a budget of NT$387 million has been allocated to encourage the patient referral cooperation among hospitals.  The budget will be raised to NT$947 million next year to further support the referral policy.

The NHIA held a seminar on vertically integrated healthcare system on October 30, inviting 6 hospitals to share their experiences with the audience.  As of October, over 6000 hospitals have formed 75 alliances to jointly promote the patient referral system.

【2018-10-30/ Liberty Times】