An advisory panel to the health ministry on Friday proposed a set of revisions to the system of how medical fees are paid to hospitals and clinics. The aim of the revisions is to prevent large hospitals from being congested with outpatients.
From April 2013, first-time patients who go to a large hospital without a referral will have to pay a part of the fee. It will not be covered by health insurance, NHK reported.
If the first-visit fee is not covered by insurance, patients who normally pay 30% of costs will have to pay an additional 490 yen as a first-time visit fee.
The health ministry hopes to encourage people with less serious ailments to go to smaller clinics so hospitals can concentrate on patients with serious illnesses.
Other measures include the allocation of 150 billion yen to promote at-home care, which is expected to become vital amid Japan's aging population, NHK said.
The panel also recommended hiking fees by up to 4,000 yen for triage at night and in the early mornings when medical professionals and care givers need to prioritize care.© Japan Today