Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Doctors seek to provide China service

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

PFP Legislator Kao Ming-chien, center, tells a press conference yesterday that he will lead a medical delegation to Fujian Province to discuss the medical needs of Taiwanese businesspeople.

PHOTO: SEAN CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

A group of 120 medical personnel will travel to China today to explore the feasibility of providing medical care to Taiwanese businesspeople and their families living there.

However, the delegation will not be able to sign contracts during their four-day visit -- as the doctors had hoped -- with two hospitals in Fujian Province.

The delegation -- the majority of whom are members of the Taiwan Medical Affairs Alliance -- will be lead by PFP Legislator Kao Ming-chien (高明見), himself a doctor.

Kao hosted a press conference yesterday to publicize the group's trip, including the fact that it will travel via the "small three links" route.

Kao said the Mainland Affairs Council and the Department of Health have completed draft regulations which would enable local medical personnel to practice in China.

"We are just waiting for them to be approved by the Executive Yuan," Kao said. "If everything goes smoothly, I think as early as March, Taiwan's doctors will be able to practice in Chinese hospitals to provide medical care to Taiwanese businessmen and their families."

"Certain details still need to be ironed out," said Ho Hsueh-cheng (何學政), assistant to Kao Ming-chien (高明見).

"Until draft administrative regulations have been approved by the Executive Yuan, we are not authorized to sign any agreements," Ho said.

Kao said the group will visit to Zhongshan Hospital in Xiamen and Fuzhou Hospital in Fuzhou to examine the medical equipment on offer in China as well as to be briefed by government agencies on local medical regulations.

"We will also visit China-based Taiwanese businesspeople to learn about the difficulties they have faced when seeking medical services from hospitals [in China]," Kao said.

He said Chinese authorities have already given the green light to Taiwanese doctors to provide medical services to Taiwanese businesspeople.

Initially, Kao said, the Taiwanese doctors would only provide outpatient services.

"We will see how things play out [in Fujian] and later broaden the scope of medical service and expand into Shanghai and Shenzhen provinces when it seems appropriate or necessary to do so," Kao said.

Kao said that patients would pay the Chinese hospitals for their treatment and that they would not be reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Program.

"In other words, their services in China would not squeeze Taiwan's medical resources," he said.

The Taiwanese doctors would be volunteers who would receive no remuneration and would be giving up their holidays to travel to China to work, he added.

Taiwanese residing in China or visiting the country have long complained about the poor quality of medical services, Kao said.

"Once they get sick, many have to travel back to Taiwan for medical treatment, which is time consuming and inconvenient," Kao said.

"We hope not only to provide better care for Taiwanese busi-nesspeople and their families but also create business opportunities in China for Taiwan's medical equipment industry," he said.

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