Doctor visit figure rising
Taiwanese visited the doctor or hospital an average of 15 times last year, Bureau of National Health Insurance statistics showed yesterday. The figure marks a record-high since the National Health Insurance scheme was launched in 1995. The bureau said the increase was because of the rapidly aging population. Visits for kidney disease treatment recorded the fastest growth — 13.9 percent over the past 10 years, said bureau Vice President Lee Cheng-hua (李丞華). National Health Insurance Civic Surveillance Alliance spokeswoman Eva Teng (滕西華) said the growing number of outpatient visits reflected an abuse of medical resources. Teng said patients who need checkups usually need to make three outpatient visits — one to schedule the examination, one for the checkup and a third for the results. Teng said hospitals should only require patients showing abnormalities in their tests to return for further diagnosis, while notifying those with normal results by telephone, e-mail or post.
Ministry official dies in PRC
A Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau official who traveled to Beijing with five colleagues to attend meetings on cross-strait cooperation in fighting drug crime died suddenly on Thursday at his hotel. Preliminary investigations attributed the death of 55-year-old Huang Chien-cheng (黃建成), who had worked at the ministry for 29 years, to a massive heart attack. The ministry has arranged for Huang’s family to travel to Beijing. It said Huang and his colleagues from the Drug Crime Prevention Department traveled to Xiamen on Monday at the invitation of the Xiamen City Government for a meeting on joint efforts to crack down on cross-strait drug crime. The group proceeded to Beijing two days later for a meeting on the same topic. Huang was nicknamed the “ascetic monk” for his devotion to his work.
Chiu may reconsider lawsuit
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) yesterday said she would consider withdrawing a lawsuit against Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Chin-hua (李慶華) if Lee promised to stop his violent behavior at the legislature. Chiu filed a lawsuit against Lee that claims he verbally assaulted her on Wednesday during a legislative committee meeting. A shouting match broke out between the two when Chiu interrupted Lee several times during his turn to speak. In retaliation, Lee called Chiu a “shrew” who lacked proper upbringing. After an exchange of insults, Chiu walked up to Lee and slapped him on the left cheek. Chiu yesterday said she was “provoked.” Lee accused Chiu and other DPP legislators of assaulting him. Lee later that day filed a lawsuit against Chiu for “harming him and smearing him in public.”
Taiwanese wins award
Academia Sinica member Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信) has won the International Recognition Award by the European Association for the Study of the Liver, becoming the first Taiwanese to receive the award. The award ceremony took place yesterday at the EASL headquarters in Copenhagen. Chen, a former dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Medicine, has carried out extensive research on hepatitis B. Chen and his team have contributed to understanding infection by the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the early detection and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and the prevention of HBV infection.