Before 2020, every household in Shanghai will have a family doctor. It is learned from the municipal government news conference held yesterday that Shanghai will start to promote the family doctor system from this year, and carry out a series of dispensing and referral preferential measures to attract residents to sign up. Besides, the government said it will also study and improve the medical insurance and other supporting policies and measures, thus to make family doctors responsible for both health and medical expenses of the residents.

It is learned that the family doctor system, which started in 10 pilot districts including Changning and Minhang since April 2011, is one of the five basic projects of the medical reform in Shanghai. So far 136 community health service centers in Shanghai have launched the family doctor service, with 2,277 family doctors signing contracts with 3,740,000 residents. Recently, the Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau, the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, the Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, and other government organizations jointly formulated and issued the “On Promoting the Family Doctor System in Shanghai”, which required family doctor service in 173 community health service centers, more than 70% of all centers, in 17 districts and counties of Shanghai.

By signing contracts with family doctors, residents can get more benefits. The first is easy dispensing. In terms of quantity, patients can get a dosage of one month or more after signing a contract; in terms of varieties, patients can not only get the 688 community listed medicines, but also can have about 30 kinds of commonly used medicines which are available only in tertiary hospitals, which will greatly benefit patients with chronic diseases. The second is easy referral. The municipal medical institutions will prioritize their appointment clinic resources to family doctors, in other words, the large hospitals will aside a certain amount of specialist outpatient service for residents signing priority booking and priority treatment.

In addition, family doctors will assess the health conditions of the residents and develop targeted long-term health management programs; those signed-up residents have the priority to set up family ward if meeting certain requirements; meet the requirements of signing residents priority to establish family bed; those over 65 years old can enjoy more priority to free health screening and so on. Chief of the Shanghai Municipal Medical Reform Office and Head of the Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau Xu Jianguang said that the family doctor is like a “doctor friend” and a “health consultant” who can resolve health problems in time.

Family doctor will also help residents with reasonable control of medical expenses. It is learned that the Shanghai medical insurance administration is studying into the supporting policies connecting the family doctor system, including improving residents’ initial medical expenses reimbursement, adding chronic disease management and community-based interventions into the health insurance payments, and adding home care into the health insurance payments. From this year on, all suburban areas in Shanghai will gradually carry out the advance payment system according to total family members in the New Rural Cooperative Medical System (NCMS), and Changning will launch payment reform such as trial advance payment system in combined worker medical insurance and resident medical insurance, as well as single disease prepaid payment.

Xu said that the family doctor system should be carried out gradually, and that the sign-up would not affect residents’ rights to free treatment. “I hope family doctors can provide more professional service, bring convenience and benefits to residents, make residents accept the medical mode of community diagnosis and orderly referral, thus making the most of medical resources.”

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