Ministry OKs first for-profit hospital to be built in JejuThe Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Friday that it would permit the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province to build the foreign for-profit Greenland International Hospital as early as 2017.
If the province’s health care policy deliberation committee approves the plan, the hospital can be the first for-profit hospital in Korea.
All hospitals, including foreign hospitals in Korea, are nonprofit hospitals run by nonprofit corporations that reinvest revenue for medical purposes. For-profit hospitals, on the other hand, whose priority is to profit, are run by for-profit corporations that distribute revenue to stockholders.
In October 2012, the ministry changed the regulations to permit the foundation of a for-profit hospital in eight free economic zones, including Jeju Island, only if half of the total amount of investment in a hospital comes from foreign corporations. But despite the change, the Greenland International Hospital is the first hospital to be admitted.
According to a building plan submitted by China’s Greenland Group, the four-story hospital is planned to open in March 2017 and will be located in Jeju Health Care Town in Topyeong-dong, Seogwipo. Greenland Group is a state-owned real estate development company with 50 percent of its stakes controlled by Shanghai.
With 77.8 billion won ($65.8 million) in funds, the hospital will have four departments - family medicine, internal medicine, plastic surgery and dermatology - and target long-term foreign inpatients, according to the Health Ministry.
It is expected, however, that the move could draw backlash from critics in the medical community, many of whom argue that for-profit hospitals inflate medical bills and disturb the health insurance system.
BY LEE ESTHER [firstname.lastname@example.org]