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Private hospitals face challenges(2)

2013-12-03 09:32 China Daily Web Editor: Gu Liping

"The policies are good, but it will take much time to put them into practice," he said. "Many customers have complained they can't be reimbursed after being treated in this hospital."

But that's just one of the difficulties. The medical talent pool in private hospitals is another.

The government has said top doctors should be allowed to work in more than one place — in private hospitals, or even in community healthcare centers, in addition to their public-hospital service — but there are barriers.

For instance, doctors in China's government-funded system are classed as full-time workers. As such, they are seldom allowed to double-up, said Xie Qilin, deputy secretary-general of the nonprofit Chinese Medical Doctor Association.

Xie said a doctor could try negotiating a contract laying out specifics such as length of the workweek, compensation or other things that might make it easier to accept work at multiple venues, but most employers will be reluctant to go along.

Few doctors in government-funded hospitals practice elsewhere, because their benefits and career opportunities are better where they are, said Liu Guo'en, a professor of economics at Peking University.

"Doctors in government-funded hospitals often enjoy higher pensions than their counterparts in private hospitals. Also, public hospitals control most of the academic and research resources," he said.

According to Xie, very few registered doctors in Beijing have applied to work parttime. As a result, people swarm the hospitals where the highest quality treatment is offered for the lowest price after insurance reimbursement.

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