Medical Services in China
Healthcare and medical services seem to be split depending on two different variables. One variable is the quality of the service provided, the other is the cost of these services. Out of these two-variable model are the medical services in remote rural areas, which are often hard to get by or is hours away. However, in an urban area (and many of the rural areas as well) you can count on three types of medical service.
One of these are the Chinese hospitals and clinics, places where you are likely to meet with locals being offered similar services. These are hospitals where Chinese is usually spoken, with few doctors mixing in a couple of English words in their explanations of your condition. Medical language is complicated as it is, let alone in Chinese…Prices are very low, but, obviously, you would want to consider the attention and quality of the healthcare service you receive before considering the price.
It is difficult to evaluate this, but there is a general opinion according to which Chinese doctors tend to give out a lot of prescription medicine, just because they receive a commission from pharmaceutical companies on volume. This would not necessarily be bad, just not that useful and a little costly.
There are also Chinese hospitals that have a separate department that specializes on working with foreigners and expats. This means that they will have some doctors who speak English and who may have been trained abroad in those departments. At the same time, the price will go up accordingly.
The top of the line facilities are the ones that are foreign owned and where the majority of the medical staff is foreign. There is no distinction between these and the facilities in the West, including pricewise. As anywhere else, the choice of these facilities should be supported with an appropriate health insurance. Some of the clinics and medical facilities to keep in mind as reasonably priced medical services for non-Chinese include United Family Hospitals and Clinics or Beijing Xiehe Hospital.
One note here is to try to stay away, as much as possible, from traditional Chinese medicine, especially if there are signs that tell you something may be wrong (read this as “dirty, unsecure, would not live there” neighborhood). There are different concerns that you need to be aware of here, even beyond the risk of being scammed, such as the risks of improperly performed acupuncture, for example.