More inclusive long-term care plan approved

The government's Long-term Care Plan 2.0 is expected to begin trial operations by the end of the year, offering enhanced services to greater numbers of disabled and elderly people, the Executive Yuan announced Sept. 29.

The key to building a long-term care service industry is talent cultivation, Premier Lin Chuan said. A standardized service system needs to be created, therefore, to facilitate the development of payment standards in the future.

Lin spoke following a briefing on the Long-term Care Plan 2.0 proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taipei City. He instructed the MOHW to select a number of cities and counties in which at least one service center would be established, with trial runs to begin by year's end. The government will conduct an overall review of trial results within one to two years' time.

According to the MOHW, the long-term care plan involves establishing a community-based service network by integrating medical care, long-term care and preventative health care resources. It is projected that a NT$17.8 billion (US$567 million) budget will be earmarked for the program in 2017.

Under the new scheme, a variety of services such as meal delivery, rehabilitation, transportation, and barrier-free home modifications will be made available through community-based integrated service centers, combined daycare service centers and long-term neighborhood care stations.

The government has also expanded long-term health care coverage to include disabled persons under the age of 49, people with mild dementia over 50, disabled indigenous residents over 55 who live in low-lying areas, and infirm seniors over 65. These new categories will increase the number of potential long-term care beneficiaries from roughly 511,000 to 738,000.

The overall health of people in Taiwan has improved considerably over time thanks to advances in domestic medical practices and high living standards. According to Ministry of the Interior statistics released the same day, the nation's average life expectancy stood at 80.2 years in 2015�83.62 for women and 77.01 for men. However, an aging population, rising life expectancies and new disease patterns have increased the need for long-term care, according to the Executive Yuan. The government's new long-term health care program will help address these issues.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)