Shenzhen has expanded financial support measures to cover novel coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical screening costs to residents in an effort to obtain a more accurate picture of virus infection among the general population, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported Thursday.
According to a notice issued Tuesday jointly by the city’s finance bureau, medical insurance bureau and the health commission, expenses incurred from COVID-19 clinical screenings, including chest CT scans, nucleic acid tests and blood tests, will be covered by the city’s medical insurance funds. All residents, both city medical insurance holders and non-holders, are eligible for the services free-of-charge, the notice said.
The move aims to relieve residents of financial pressure so that all necessary screening methods to rule out infection can be conducted, hence improving the accuracy of known COVID-19 cases in the city.
The notice said that the designated COVID-19 hospitals that conduct the screenings, groups eligible for free clinical screening and screening methods are subject to change by the health commission. These efforts are aimed to circumvent the lengthy legislative procedure of passing a new policy in order to provide timely treatment to patients and people suspected of being infected, the Daily said.
The notice also specifies that the expenses incurred due to the treatment of other chronic diseases COVID-19 patients may have, such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as complications that occur during the course of virus treatment, will also be paid for by the city’s medical insurance funds. As such, all patients and people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 will be exempt from all clinic screening and hospitalization costs at both designated and non-designated hospitals in the city.
Doctors are now allowed to prescribe up to three months’ worth of drugs for patients suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes to avoid risking infection during prescription pickup.
Other measures mentioned in the notice include encouraging mobile medical insurance card payment and online diagnosis. Hospitals and community clinics are encouraged to offer the mobile payment option to patients to shorten the time they spend on premise. Hospitals that meet related requirements can also offer online consultation and diagnosis to further avoid cross infection.