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Panel proposes fee to encourage hospitals’ work style reform

  • February 7, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 4:33 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)–A panel that advises the Japanese health minister drew up Friday a set of proposals on fiscal 2020 revisions of government-administered medical service fees, including creating a fee to support work style reforms for doctors at emergency hospitals.

According to the proposals, submitted to health minister Katsunobu Kato the same day, the Central Social Insurance Medical Council called for the creation of a new fee that emergency hospitals can charge for the first day of hospitalization.

With correcting the long work hours of hospital-employed doctors seen as an urgent task ahead of an overtime limit for doctors to be introduced in fiscal 2024, the fee would be applied to emergency hospitals that have accepted a certain number of emergency patients and are making efforts to understand how doctors work and alleviate burdens on them.

The measure, aimed at encouraging hospitals to tackle work style reforms, may lead to higher out-of-pocket burdens for patients.

With a view to supporting flexible work styles for health care professionals, the panel also proposed revisions allowing hospitals to charge an add-on fee for palliative care for cancer patients if treatment is offered by more than one part-time doctor.

Amid concerns about a possible rise in the number of patients with gambling addictions when casino-featuring resorts are introduced in Japan, the panel called for public medical insurance to cover group therapy for the illness.

 

According to the proposals, public medical insurance would also apply to smoking-cessation treatment for patients who smoke heated tobacco products as well as gene tests for patients with such diseases as hereditary breast cancer and preventive removals of breasts, ovaries and other organs.

Elsewhere, the panel called for abolishing an extra fee for pregnant women, following criticism from the public. It instead proposed a fee-charging system for communicating information about patients’ treatment, including for pregnant women, between medical institutions.

 

In a bid to promote the division of roles between large hospitals and primary-care hospitals, the panel proposed expanding the scope of hospitals that can add out-of-pocket costs for patients without referrals.

On the fiscal 2020 medical fee revisions, the government decided late last year to cut government-set drug prices by 1.01 pct and increase medical service fees by 0.55 pct, including a 0.08 pct rise set aside for work style reforms for doctors at emergency hospitals.

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