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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.

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.

Tibet region greets Indian pilgrims

This year’s first officially organized group of Indian pilgrims enters China through the Nathu La Pass in the Tibet autonomous region on Wednesday.LIU DONGJUN/XINHUA

The Nathu La Pass in the Tibet autonomous region received this year’s first officially organized group of Indian pilgrims on Wednesday.

The 38 pilgrims will travel to Mansarovar Lake and Mount Kailash in the region’s Ngari prefecture in the following 12 days. Both sites are regarded as sacred by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Tibetan Bon practitioners.

This year, the pass is expected to see about 500 such pilgrims from India making the 2,874-kilometer pilgrimage, said Yang Zhigang, deputy director of the office of foreign affairs and overseas Chinese affairs in Xigaze, the region’s second-biggest city.

“The pilgrims will be provided with room and board, as well as medicines and other help in their journey,” Yang said.

Hotel rooms are arranged in the region’s counties of Kangmar, Lhaze and Drongba, and the pilgrims need to pay for accommodations, according to the office.

Vegetables, fruit and some basic rescue facilities are also prepared for their needs.

Anuj Gupta made the journey with his 66-year-old mother. “This is her dream, and mine, too. This is a holy pilgrimage. I’m here to find something,” he said.

The Chinese government first allowed Indians to make pilgrimages to Tibet in 1981. China has welcomed almost 80,000 Indian pilgrims in the past decade alone. Since 2015, the Nathu La Pass has been opened to make it more convenient for Indian pilgrims to pay homage to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake in Tibet.

The Nathu La Pass sits over 4,000 meters above sea level and is wedged between Tibet’s Yadong county and India’s Sikkim state. It is the shortest land passage for trade between China and India.

Before that, Indian pilgrims had to climb over the Qang La Pass, which sits 5,200 meters above sea level on the China-India-Nepal border in the region’s Purang county, and the road is steep and usually covered by snow. The new route cuts travel time for pilgrims from more than 20 days to about eight to 12 days.

Xinhua contributed to this story.