The epidemic has been dragging on for three years in China, sending both public and private hospitals into overwhelmed status. 

Many hospitals have frequently been closed down and reopened, causing their income to decline. 

According to the latest “2021 China Health Statistical Yearbook,” the total debt of government-run hospitals is around 2.61 trillion dollars.

The liabilities to assets ratio is around 46%, which is not far from the 50% warning line. The liabilities to assets ratio is mostly used to measure the debt repayment ability of an institution, and it is generally considered that more than 50% is a high risk. 

Citing The National Health Commission’s statistics, Da Ji Yuan reported there are more than 11,800 public hospitals and more than 24,760 private hospitals across the country as of the end of 2021.

As of July this year, more than 2,000 private hospitals have gone bankrupt, with an average loss of around 819,000 dollars.

According to the Health Commission of Huludao city, Liaoning province, the epidemic has dramatically affected public hospitals’ fiscal revenue. 

Epidemic protective materials cost has greatly increased, while medical income has decreased. As a result, these public hospitals’ debt level has risen sharply. 

The situation is even worse as public hospitals began a new round of substantial expansion, with thousands of hospital beds at every turn. 

The rapid increase of tens of thousands of hospital beds in a city has resulted in a large amount of new debt. 

Following the hospitals’ revenue decline, there come many consequences.

According to Wang Yuan, a former doctor at Beijing Hospital, public hospitals in China have not fulfilled their obligations. Wang Yuan is a pseudonym to protect the doctor.

As non-profit institutions, these public hospitals enjoy tax exemptions but decline to save lives and help the wounded if the patients fail to pay the treatment fee. Some hospitals have changed their non-profit status, to the point that employees now have internal shareholding.

In addition, many hospital employees said that until now, they have only received wages for January and February. They have not paid wages from March to July.

The Paper, a state-run official media, reported that Liaoning’s Dandong Zhen’an District Hospital had not paid wages for five consecutive months. 

In response to the salary cut, the local health bureau explained that the outpatient income’s dramatic decline has badly affected the medical staff’s salary. 

Huang Lin, a physician at the East China Hospital affiliated to Fudan University in Shanghai, said that the hospital’s operation has been postponed for three years due to the epidemic. Huang Lin is also a pseudonym to protect the doctor. 

He added that the hospital is filled with Covid-infected patients, while doctors have to go to the community to conduct nucleic acid testing. The shortage of doctors in hospitals has caused the death of several patients as nurses failed to seek proper medical treatment. 

According to Huang Lin, Zhang Wenhong, Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, has repeatedly stressed that Omicron’s mortality rate is very low. 

However, the authorities always insist on intensive nucleic acid testing mainly because of the great benefits. Therefore, they are reluctant to get rid of this epidemic-control measure. They even conduct two inspections in three days in many places. 

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