The government will accelerate the implementation of policy packages to encourage investments in telemedicine and establishing new medical corporation subsidiaries. At the same time, it will work to speed the process of medical service bills, which are in a controversy-created stalemate.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Kyung-hwan released a statement to the nation on August 26 for the prompt processing of bills for economic and public livelihood, and also mentioned the revision of the Medical Act for the introduction of telemedicine and the Basic Act for Service Industry Development. The latter covers details about healthcare privatization and the prerogatives of for-profit hospitals.
The government has tried to enact the Telemedicine Act since 2009, but failed due to opposition from the medical sector. At present, the revision to the Medical Act that allows telemedicine for chronic patients and those in remote areas has been pending in the National Assembly for over four months.
The government is eager to allow telemedicine at this time. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, aiming to have the revised Medical Act passed this year, is planning to launch pilot remote monitoring projects for non-diagnostic purposes next month, despite opposition from the Korean Medical Association.
The revision of the Medical Act Enforcement Regulations for the establishment of medical corporation subsidiaries and the expansion of incidental businesses is in review, too. The amendment, branded as a healthcare privatization bill, faced over 100,000 dissenting opinions during the advance legislation notice. However, the Ministry of Health and Welfare recently determined that there was nothing wrong in the notice procedure, and submitted the revision to the Ministry of Government Legislation on August 25, with only the international conference business section deleted.