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Payment system should be adjusted for pediatricians: group

2012/05/29 22:08:32

Taipei, May 29 (CNA) The president of the Taiwan Pediatric Association urged the government Tuesday to allocate more resources to the field of pediatrics because there has been a sharp decline in new blood in Taiwan.

The number of new pediatricians is dropping at a speed faster than that of the decline in the number of of newborns, said the association's president, Wu Mei-hwan, in a press conference at which she was accompanied by opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislators Tien Chiu-chin, Chao Tien-lin and Chen Ou-po.

Tien said the payment system of the National Health Insurance program distributes a relatively lower share to pediatricians. In addition, among doctors of the five major medical departments -- internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and emergency care -- on the front line of saving lives, pediatricians' incomes are also relatively low.

She noted that one pediatrician is responsible for the care of over 1,800 children on average, which is evidence of the insufficiency of physicians in this sector.

Doctors present at the press conference also backed the proposal.

Wang Jou-kou, a pediatrician at National Taiwan University Hospital, said it takes longer to perform surgery on children than it takes to perform the same procedure on adults. Despite this, pediatricians get a lower share through the National Health Insurance payment system.

Lin Chia-ying of the Taitung Mackay Memorial Hospital said that pediatric medical resources are inadequate in Taitung County, eastern Taiwan. Sometimes patients have to make a drive of more than three hours to Kaohsiung when they need medical care.

In response, Department of Health official Wang Tsung-hsi said the department will re-evaluate the medical resource distribution and re-allocate insurance payments in 2013.

(By Tseng Ying-yu and Nell Shen)