New structure for China's top health authority

China's top health and population authority has set up a special department to oversee ongoing reform to the medical care system.

The move by the National Health and Family Planning Commission was announced in an official online statement.

The Institution Reform Department replaces the Medical Reform Office under the State Council to push forward reform programs, particularly in building up universal healthcare and public hospital reforms, the statement said.

The commission is also responsible for further improving the childbearing policy.

Director Li Bin said in an online address to mark the launch of the commission's website on Wednesday, "Health is key to people's overall development and the commission will deepen the ongoing medical reforms and stick to the family planning policy to improve public health, particularly among newborns."

The commission has delegated approval authority over the setting up of Chinese mainland-based hospitals solely funded by Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan investors to provincial-level health authorities, the statement said.

For foreign medical groups conducting short-term medical treatment in China, approval is now only needed from municipality-level government agencies, instead of from the commission, it added.

The statement said a rule detailing the commission's new institutional structure and duties was approved by the State Council, or China's cabinet.

A cabinet reshuffle plan was introduced in March in an attempt to improve government efficiency and reduce administrative intervention on social issues.

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