Health Ministry Names 424 Public Hospitals to Urge Reform

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Tokyo, Sept. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japan's health ministry published on Thursday a list of 424 public medical institutions it has deemed to be in need of discussions on consolidation and realignment.

The move is aimed at speeding up streamlining efforts for the medical sector, to suppress ballooning medical cost ahead of a spike in the number of people aged 75 or older that is expected to occur in fiscal 2025.

The ministry is expected to request prefectures soon to draw up plans by September 2020 for dealing with the targeted medical institutions, which include publicly run hospitals and hospitals operated by the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Saiseikai Imperial Gift Foundation.

The health ministry is looking to first focus on public institutions, which receive public financial incentives and tax benefits, in its sectorwide reform plan that also targets private medical institutions.

However, the approach is expected to trigger strong opposition from municipalities and citizens as reviews of public hospitals and similar institutions will directly affect people's lives. The reform efforts are likely to face difficulties, especially as the ministry request will not have binding power.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press