Ministry OKs first for-profit hospital to be built in Jeju

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Ministry OKs first for-profit hospital to be built in Jeju

The 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 [koo.yurim@joongang.co.kr]



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