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The Chinese medical system primarily comprises of public and private hospitals and a small percentage of personalized clinics.
There are also hospitals, clinics and dental clinics established for foreigners, especially in the big cities.
Both Western medical treatment system and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are practiced in Chinese hospitals. A large percentage of hospitals also practice a mixture of Western and Chinese medicine.
Some offer a full range of medical services such as operations, check-ups and in-patient facilities while other smaller clinics may only diagnose the symptoms of minor ailments.
Foreign-run hospitals in China
There are various types of hospitals in China. Foreign-run hospitals and clinics (including joint venture facilities) with up-to-date medical facilities and international staff who speak English and/or another foreign language are good choices for health care.
However, treatments costs in these health institutions may be more than ten times the price of the same procedure at a public hospital (and it is by no means cheaper than the US or Western Europe). It is advisable to check in advance whether the treatment is covered by your health insurance.
Public hospitals in China
Foreigners can have the treatment and pay the same prices as the locals in public hospitals and clinics in China.
Most public hospitals in China don't accept medical insurance from abroad. In some cases, the patient is asked to post a deposit prior to admission to cover the expected cost of treatment.
Many public hospitals in major Chinese cities have VIP wards (gaogan bingfang) that are priced much higher.
VIP wards feature reasonably up-to-date medical technology and physicians who are both knowledgeable and skilled. Most VIP wards also provide medical services to foreigners and have English-speaking doctors and nurses.