Development policy of balancing the number of hospital beds among regional area in Taiwan

Shiao Chi Wu*, Shin Ting Yeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The Medical Care Network Plan divided Taiwan into 17 medical areas to balance medical resources and reduce distance-related barriers to access. This paper presents a systematic review of how regional medical resources have been balanced since the Medical Care Network Plan was established. The gap between the highest and lowest total number of beds per 10,000 people in secondary medical areas has narrowed. The number of medical centers in the primary medical areas and the number of regional hospitals in secondary medical areas have exceeded plan targets. The "Permission for Hospital Establishment or the Expansion of Licensing" measures announced in 2010 only retain absolute expansion restrictions with excess medical resources. As the target number of tertiary medical beds is gradually relaxed, the implementation of a hierarchical medical care policy becomes more difficult. In the next 50 years, the total population of Taiwan is expected to continue to decrease. In addition to the continual increase in the number of hospital beds per 10,000 population, urbanization effects will accelerate population losses in agricultural counties and less-populated cities, making it difficult for primary health care units and personnel to remain there. Changes in the number of beds in hospitals above the regional level must continue to be controlled, and the capacity of grassroots health-care units and human resources in agricultural counties and less-populated cities must be increased to avoid reducing the public's medical treatment accessibility. (Taiwan J Public Health. 2022;41(2): 128-141).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-141
Number of pages14
JournalTaiwan Journal of Public Health
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • medical areas
  • Medical Care Network Plan
  • regional hospital bed
  • the hierarchy of medical care policy

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