Insurance scams to be investigated

Review of hospitals, pharmacies will be carried out nationwide

China has ordered a review of hospitals and pharmacies nationwide looking for possible health insurance scams, an official said at a news conference on Wednesday, a week after China Central Television exposed two suspicious cases in Northeast China.

The new review follows a national inspection in September looking for fraudulent practices in the sector, according to Huang Huabo, an official with the newly created National Health Care Security Administration.

“The medical insurance fund is lifesaving money for the public. Ensuring its security is significant for people’s livelihoods, and it’s also an important political task,” he said.

Two hospitals in Shenyang, Liaoning province, were accused of hiring people who were covered by the country’s basic health insurance system and hospitalized them using fake medical records to claim insurance money from the government, CCTV reported last week.

As of Monday, 37 suspects had been detained by police in Shenyang, and 19.9 million yuan ($2.87 million) of insurance money had been frozen, the broadcaster said on Wednesday.

China began to create nationwide basic medical insurance that covers urban and rural residents in 2007, and coverage expanded over time. More than 1.35 billion people are covered by the system, according to the National Health Commission, about 95 percent of China’s population.

Insured residents pay into the fund on a regular basis, alongside the State and employers, and they can have a certain percentage of their medical bills reimbursed.

But during the earlier inspection, a number of hospitals were found to have defrauded the insurance fund. According to the administration, 761 hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in Chuangchun, Jilin province, were disciplined during that inspection, and government agencies refused to reimburse more than 10 million yuan ($1.44 million) of insurance claims.

Ninety-two hospitals in Tianjin were disqualified from making health insurance claims and fined 20 million yuan. Almost 18 million yuan of falsely claimed money was recovered.

Hundreds of hospitals and pharmacies in Hebei and Shanxi provinces were also disciplined.

Huang said the upcoming review will target hospitals that convince patients to receive unnecessary treatment or that fake medical records to cheat the government.

Hospitals that encourage patients to use other people’s social security cards or make false reports on their medical expenses will also be targeted, along with pharmacies and individuals involved in such scams, he said.

The public can report misconduct by phone at 010-89061396 and 010-89061397, he said. Channels will be opened on other platforms, including WeChat.

The administration will set up a reward system for whistleblowers.

The National Health Care Security Administration was created during an institutional reorganization earlier this year. It incorporates functions from several departments, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, which used to administer basic healthcare insurance for urban residents, and the National Development and Reform Commission, which regulated the price of drugs and medical services.

Jiang Yu, a researcher in the State Council’s Development Research Center, said that health insurance scams are not a new phenomenon and have increased in recent years.

“The growth of private hospitals is a main contributor,” he said, adding that many are profit-seeking. At the same time, the threshold for entering the sector is relatively low, he said.

Jiang added that inadequate funding has also led some public hospitals to turn to the insurance pool for supplementary income, for which there is not enough oversight.

Measures to boost care for the elderly

Nursing services among key areas to be improved

China will lower the market access threshold for all nursing home ownerships, improve community facilities for at-home nursing for the elderly and train more nursing professionals for the sector to expand services and provide more employment opportunities.

Experts said foreign and private investors will have new opportunities as the market for elderly care expands to enhance services and boost quality.

The decision, adopted on Wednesday at an executive meeting of the State Council, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, was to help meet diverse demands of the increasing number of elderly people in the country, according to a statement.

Four measures were approved at the meeting, including encouraging local authorities to use multiple channels to effectively increase nursing services. Public nursing homes will provide free or low-cost services to those who are in economic difficulties or with only one child.

New residential complexes will install elderly nursing facilities and old complexes will be renovated with such amenities. Professional institutions will be supported to run these facilities. Meanwhile, the training for professional elderly nursing workers will be strengthened.

The meeting also decided to strengthen cross-department supervision, with compulsory national standards on service quality and firefighting facilities to be installed.

Over the years, the elderly population has become an increasingly serious problem for China. Last year, the country had 158.31 million people age 60 or older, while people older than 65 accounted for 11.4 percent of the population, according to the National Statistics Bureau. In 2017, the number of people older than 65 in China went up by 5.5 percent.

The peak is estimated to fall around 2050 when China’s elderly population is expected to hit 487 million, which will account for more than one-third of the population.

For Dang Junwu, deputy director of the China Research Center on Aging, the meeting specifically targeted major problems that curbed the development of the elderly nursing sector over the years, such as firefighting facilities.

If properly carried out, these new measures can increase the number of legal nursing institutions as well as the number of elderly people living in these institutions, Dang said. In the next step, specific rules should be released on land use, cooperation between hospitals and elderly nursing institutions, and easier medical reimbursement that can help reduce costs for patients, he said.

Dang’s viewpoint was echoed by Cao Bingliang, deputy president of the China Silver Industry Association. Cao said China’s traditional elderly care is changing in the context of smaller family sizes and an aging population, which demands diverse services such as at-home nursing.

According to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2016, the market value for elderly nursing is estimated to be worth 13 trillion yuan ($1.87 trillion) by 2030.

In 2015, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly released a guideline to encourage private capital to invest in the elderly nursing market, including at-home nursing, in-community nursing and professional institutions.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said that the country had 155,000 elderly nursing institutions and facilities last year, up by 10.6 percent year-on-year. The number of beds climbed to 7.44 million, an increase of 2 percent year-on-year.

However, a five-year plan on elderly nursing, released by the State Council in February last year, pointed out problems such as an in-balance in elderly services between rural and urban areas, insufficient supply of such services and a shortage of professionals.

Foreign investment can be introduced under the lower market access threshold that will provide increasing opportunities to tap the potential of the Chinese market, Dang said. So far, there are no leading Chinese brands in this field, and foreign companies can work with local partners, he said.


(China Daily 12/04/2018 page6)

Film on pilot’s heroic story to begin shooting

Liu Chuanjian (left in second row), Sichuan Airlines’ heroic pilot, poses for a photo with the film crew, including Zhang Hanyu (middle in second row) ,on board after he pilots a flight from Chengdu to Beijing on Nov 16. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The heroic deeds of Liu Chuanjian, a Chinese pilot who was applauded after successfully handing an emergency landing, will hit screens in China.

Popular actor Zhang Hanyu will feature in the movie to be directed by Liu Weiqiang. The film will see start shooting in January and is expected to hit screens within 2019.

Liu Chunjian, 46, is a Sichuan Airlines pilot. He landed an Airbus A319 plane safely after the cockpit window broke at 32,000 feet above the ground en route from Chongqing to Lhasa, Tibet, on May 14. His professional and calm handling saved all the 128 people on board, including 9 crew members.

He was dubbed “hero captain of China’s civil aviation” and was awarded five million yuan ($730,000).

He returned to work recently after recovering from the incident.

Boy, 13, dies after accident; corneas donated

Medical workers attend to Yuze, a boy seriously injured in a car accident, in an ambulance traveling from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to Beijing on Tuesday. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

A critically injured boy who was sent from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region to Beijing in October for urgent treatment – with the public helping to clear traffic from expressways – died on Tuesday.

The boy’s parents donated his corneas in honor of the boy’s dream of becoming a doctor to help others, his mother confirmed on Thursday.

Yuze, 13, died of multiple organ failure, Beijing Tiantan Hospital said on Thursday. The boy was treated there after being transferred from a hospital in Inner Mongolia on Oct 16.

“The hospital spared no effort to treat the boy, who had traumatic brain injuries, but there was no improvement from beginning to end,” it said.

Yuze, a second-year middle school student at Beijing Normal University Experimental School, was on his way to Inner Mongolia on Oct 3 for a vacation with his father, grandmother and aunt when their car struck something on the road that the father said looked like a tire. That caused their car to break down and the four of them got out. Suddenly another car struck the same item and flipped over, landing on the family. Yuze was seriously injured, and his grandmother and aunt were killed.

He was treated for multiple fractures and brain injuries at Inner Mongolia People’s Hospital in Hohhot.

The boy’s story caught the attention of the public when he was transferred to Beijing.

On Oct 15, a WeChat post titled “Relay for Life” went viral. It included the license plate numbers of the ambulance carrying the boy and two other vehicles in the convoy, as well as their departure time and driving route, and called on surrounding vehicles to give way to them.

Traffic police from Inner Mongolia, Hebei province and Beijing coordinated a special route and broadcast the message through various traffic radio stations, which allowed them to get to Beijing Tiantan Hospital about two and a half hours earlier than expected.

The boy liked watching US cartoons and aspired to be a hero. Even at a young age he was eager to help others, his mother told China Daily.

“He wanted to become a doctor who could treat others’ diseases and bring kindness to the whole world,” she said.

“So, we want to extend his feelings to the world by donating his corneas. We have contacted a hospital in Beijing and Yuze must be happy with that.”

Wang Keju contributed to this story.

Technology key to toilet revolution

Restrooms with a number of themes, such as granaries and bars, have been built or renovated at Yashan Mountain scenic spot in Jiangxi province. [Photo By Zhang Wei/China Daily]

China’s “toilet revolution” is shifting its focus to reducing the disparity in sanitation conditions between urban and rural areas, aiming to reduce infectious diseases and boost the development of rural tourism, a top tourism official said.

“We started the revolution with tourist toilets. It’s time to channel efforts to promote clean toilets to public places and rural families to ensure residents a clean and healthier living environment,” Li Jinzao, vice-minister of culture and tourism, said in an interview with China Daily.

Li said he is concerned that people in the countryside commonly use pits as toilets, without flushing water or modern hygiene equipment, which can cause odor and diseases as the human waste isn’t properly treated.

A report by the National Health Commission in January showed that only 17 percent of toilets in rural areas met modern hygiene standards as of the end of 2017, causing great environmental and health problems.

Over 80 percent of infectious diseases are caused by polluted water and pathogens in human waste that is improperly treated, according to a report on the “toilet revolution” by the former China Tourism Administration in 2017. The administration was merged into the culture and tourism ministry in March.

The report said that the “toilet revolution” is meant to correct backward sanitation conditions in the countryside, which will also greatly change rural residents’ lifestyles.

“It’s a problem of economy and people’s consciousness,” Li said. “It has long been a tradition for rural residents to use a pit, which cannot be changed in a short time. They are unaware of the larger costs of disease treatment if infected by pathogens in untreated human waste.”

Improving sanitation conditions in the countryside will also help drive development of rural tourism as toilets play a key role in infrastructure serving tourists, he said.

Culture and tourism ministry officials have said about 22,600 toilet facilities with modern hygiene standards will be built in rural areas in poor financial conditions but rich in tourism resources by the end of 2020. Also, modern technologies like cloud computing will be applied to toilet management.

Li said technology is important in advancing the revolution. “But it’s quite challenging as varied environments require different technologies to build toilets that are both hygienic and ecologically friendly, for example, in conditions with cold temperatures or water shortages, and in areas with extreme poverty.

“It’s not a job solely for the government but requires joint efforts by government and enterprises,” he said.

Shen Yangze, general manager with China Everbright Ecological Technologies Co, said they have built 300-plus modern toilets with cutting-edge technologies for residents’ use at no cost in Guzhang county, in Hunan province’s Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture. The company has been helping with the county’s poverty alleviation work since 2016.

“We want to give something more practical to poor residents, which can both improve their living environment and help protect nature,” he said.

The 300-plus toilets, which meet modern hygiene standards, use water-free technologies that employ microbes to dispose of human waste, and water extracted from waste can be used to irrigate farmland. The ecological toilets will be put into use next month, he said.

Hunan province also has provided financial support to help improve sanitation conditions in its rural areas. Lanshan county in Yongzhou, for example, has allocated 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) to rebuild toilets in the countryside. Residents willing to replace their pit toilets with modern, hygienic ones with flushing water will receive a government subsidy of 500 yuan, according to provincial government report.

“People used to shrug when human feces was mentioned, as it was not worth discussing compared with economic and industrial development,” Li said. “However, nothing related to living standards should be overlooked, including toilets, which can turn into a fatal problem if not properly handled.

“We did achieve progress in improving people’s consciousness, especially in the countryside, because toilets are rather important infrastructure to serve travelers if they want to turn poor villages into travel destinations.”

Conditions need to be considered

Zhang Jieying, doctoral student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhang Jieying, 27, a doctoral student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, recounted her six-month experience as a legal intern at the Supreme People’s Court to Cao Yin, saying she hoped the program could be kept and suggested that students be provided with more cases.

I was an intern at the court’s administrative division from October 2015 to March 2016. During the internship, I helped judges draft judgments, review legal reports or notes, collect case materials and participated in legal research.

I miss and am thankful for the time I spent reading and researching abundant rulings to make sure a decision could be adopted in solving more disputes across the country, because it not only made me understand the significance of classic cases, but also contributed to my subsequent study overseas.

I found very small matters could influence a case when I studied abroad in the United States after the internship. Foreign teachers often highlighted the importance of details in a case and asked us to demonstrate facts again and again, which always reminded me of the days at the top court.

Judges at the court also spent lots of time and energy on demonstration. They held seminars to analyze legal problems and look for as many materials as possible to ensure their decisions were more accurate. Most of time, we just see a final result, but luckily I witnessed the process.

Many legal problems look similar, but in fact they are solved differently, as we have to take local conditions into consideration, which is also what I learned after comparing the experience at the top court and in the US.

What’s more, I made friends during the internship. Our tutor judges established a WeChat group of interns, interacting with us on legal issues and caring about our lives.

I really hope the legal intern program can be kept in future, allowing interns to deal with more cases. Figuring out the best solution to a dispute is a kind of art. Before that, we should first be industrious in getting experience from abundant cases.

Rebuilding consumer trust in dairy industry

Quality of products will be boosted as sector undergoes revitalization to restore confidence

Wang Yixing first ordered infant formula from a friend in Sydney for his baby daughter two years ago.

He bought three tins each time, trying to make ends meet and not waste any.

“You know it’s a dilemma: no one knows exactly how much she will drink as her mother also breastfeeds her. If I buy too much, the milk powder will be wasted, but I also am afraid of a shortage,” said the 33-year-old IT technician in Beijing.

Like many other parents, he was mistrustful of domestic infant formula products.

Now, Wang sees new hope after the State Council, China’s Cabinet, decided to revitalize the domestic dairy industry and improve the quality of such products at an executive meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Three measures were disclosed in a guideline, approved at the meeting, to rebuild consumer confidence in the dairy industry. A better breed of cows will be introduced and bred in key farms while bases for high-quality milk will also be built, said a statement released after the meeting. National standards for fresh milk and other products will be revised to improve quality supervision.

In 2017, China’s production and consumption of dairy products ranked third globally. However, the average per capita consumption was only one third of the world’s average, showing great potential of this industry in the world’s second-largest economy, said Yu Kangzhen, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, at a policy briefing on Friday.

However, a scandal in 2008 tainted the image of the domestic dairy industry when melamine-tainted milk powder damaged the health of thousands of children around the country, including several children who died. Consequently, many parents, such as Wang, buy milk powder from overseas, often using online shopping.

“The quality and goodwill of domestically made infant formula should be substantially improved within three years to rebuild the confidence in homemade dairy products,” the premier said at the meeting.

To accelerate the revitalization of the dairy industry, the quality of infant formula should be the first priority, he said.

Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the only way to rebuild confidence is to significantly improve the quality of milk and the dairy industry’s competitiveness. Standardized breeding of cows and using machines to milk will reduce contamination.

Meanwhile, strict quality standards will also be a vital factor ensuring safety, he said. To achieve these goals, more investment in related technologies should be made to play a bigger role in improving the industry’s competitiveness, he added.

The researcher’s views were echoed by the premier, who said advanced technologies and management expertise should be adopted from leading dairy producing countries.

The opening of the domestic market will in return push forward upgrading of China’s dairy industry, he said. Government support should be given while management and oversight compliance should be strengthened to cultivate a market-oriented and law-based environment, the premier added.

“For sure, if the quality of Chinese infant formula is good enough, I can simply go to a supermarket nearby for the milk powder instead of going through the trouble of buying from Sydney. I don’t have to do accurate calculations any more when making an order from Australia,” the technician Wang said, adding that it’s a long-term process to rebuild trust for consumers like him.

In addition to technical upgrading, Yu also said a regular quality report on China’s dairy industry will be released while a conference will be held for top 20 Chinese dairy companies to improve branding among Chinese consumers. In this way, he hoped consumers can be convinced of domestic quality.

2 killed, 57 injured in Jilin warehouse blast

The accident occurred at around 11:40 pm Friday in a warehouse of Jiangcheng Machinery Company in Sanhe township, Dongfeng county, Jilin province.[Photo/IC]

CHANGCHUN – Two people were killed and 57 injured in a warehouse explosion in Northeast China’s Jilin province Friday night, according to the latest updates.

The accident occurred at around 11:40 pm Friday in a warehouse of Jiangcheng Machinery Company in Sanhe township, Dongfeng county, leaving two people dead, including one who died in hospital. The 57 injured are receiving treatment, with one person suffering serious injuries.

The explosion also caused a fire, which was put out Saturday morning. Dense smoke can still be seen at the scene.

A total of 370 houses have been damaged, with 15 having collapsed.

Li Tao, a local resident, said he was sent to hospital in Dongfeng county at around 1:00 am The explosion shattered the tiles and glass of his house. He later noticed scratches on his forehead and arms. His wife has been hospitalized in the same hospital due to heart problems caused by the explosion.

Investigation into the explosion is underway and rescue efforts are continuing.

Researcher reveals more details on human embryo gene editing

He Jiankui speaks at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong on Nov 28. [Photo by Parker Zheng/China Daily]

A Chinese scientist at the center of an ethical storm over what he claims are the world’s first genetically edited babies said on Wednesday he is proud of his work and revealed that there has been another chemical pregnancy as part of the research.

Biological researcher He Jiankui also revealed more details of the controversial experiment in which he edited genes in human embryos that led to the birth of twin girls, Lulu and Nana.

2 killed as Typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall in Guangdong

At least two people were killed by super typhoon Mangkhut as of 8:00 pm BJT (1200 GMT) Sunday, China Central Television reports.

Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in Taishan city, South China’s Guangdong province at around 5 pm on Sunday.

Flooding and damaged buildings were reported across the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and South China’s Guangdong province on Sunday, as Typhoon Mangkhut, a record storm bringing fierce winds and intense rain, sweeps past the Pearl River Delta.

Smashed windows, uprooted trees, swaying buildings, collapsing external walls, and flooded lobbies in residential estates, along with rough waves crashing against the breakwater, were seen from images and videos posted on social media across cities in the river delta.

In Hong Kong, by 2 pm, a total of 111 people – 60 men and 51 women – had sought medical treatment at public hospitals during the typhoon. There were 76 reported cases of fallen trees, the Hong Kong SAR government said.

As a heavy rainstorm affects the city, with more than 100 millimeters of rainfall recorded in the past few hours, the Hong Kong Observatory announced flooding in the northern New Territories at 11:25 am. The Drainage Service Department received five confirmed flooding cases by early Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the weather authority also issued a landslip warning at 2:20 pm.

It said Hurricane Signal No 10, the SAR’s highest typhoon signal, will remain in force in the afternoon.