Meeting the Health-care Needs of the Rural Elderly: The Unique Role of Village Doctors

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China & World Economy, Vol. 20, page(s): 44-60


china world economy

Despite their recent deterioration, village clinics have historically been an important source of health care for the poor and elderly in rural China. In this paper, we examine the current role of village clinics, the patients who use them and some of the services they provide. We focus specifically on the role of village clinics in meeting the health-care needs of the rural poor and elderly. We find that although clinics are continuing to decline financially, they remain a source of care for the rural elderly and poor. We estimate that the elderly are 10–15 percent more likely than young individuals to seek care at a clinic. We show that clinics provide many unique services to support the rural elderly (and the elderly poor), such asin-home patient care, the option for patients to pay on credit, and free and discounted services.

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