China Looks to Cure Hospital Corruption

Hospitals overcharge, and patients are angry
A nurse attends to patients at a hospital in Hefei in eastern China’s Anhui province Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

A retired civil servant with stomach pains was pleasantly surprised by his recent visit to the Beijing Friendship Hospital. “I’m paying less, so of course I’m satisfied,” says the 71-year-old, who would only identify himself as Mr. Tong. “And coming to the hospital, getting a queue number, and seeing the doctor all took less than one hour.” The hospital is part of a pilot program: Patients have to pay more to see a doctor at Beijing Friendship, but drugs sold by the hospital pharmacy are cheaper, lowering the total bill. Waiting times are shorter as well.

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