Second Flagship Training on Health Care Financing with China’s NHSA

From November 23 – 27, 2020, the Harvard China Health Partnership (HCHP) held the “Second Annual Flagship Training on Effective and Sustainable Health Care Financing” with China’s National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA), which oversees public health insurance programs covering 96% of China’s population. With the imminent approval of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan in early 2021, this executive education program was created to introduce new ideas to China’s policy makers and policy implementers to spur innovative ways of thinking, to share international experience, and to facilitate dialogue between different NHSA offices and localities. The training brought together national and provincial NHSA personnel from across the country, providing a learning opportunity to both senior and budding leaders of China’s healthcare apparatus.

Director for the executive education program Winnie (Chi-Man) Yip, Professor of Global Health Policy and Economics, designed the course along the theme of strategic purchasing aimed at improving effective use of resources and delivering affordable and good quality care to people. Global experts shared experiences from the United States, Thailand, Canada, and Taiwan on issues ranging from innovative provider payment methods, health technology assessments (HTA), and the governance of health purchasing organizations. An on-site team of HCHP collaborators from leading universities in China, led by Fudan University, shared insights from their own research and served as a resource for seeding follow-up discussion among participants.

HCHP’s extensive network includes experts in international health systems that also possess multi-decade experience researching China’s healthcare policy, including William Hsiao, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at the Harvard Chan School. This deep knowledge of health systems in both the global and Chinese contexts enabled presenters to weave together international experience with the nuances of China’s health system.

Discussion sessions followed each presentation for attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the course content and raise questions on the challenges faced designing and implementing reform.

Participants also benefited from hearing their colleagues share domestic experience. An NHSA official from Beijing presented lessons learned from Beijing’s implementation of diagnosis-related groups (DRG) over the past 10 years, and a senior Sanming NHSA official provided an overview of the city’s systemic reform plan, which some in China see as a potential model for the rest of the country. As part of the training, field visits were organized to a local hospital and an NHSA office in Quanzhou, Fujian province where the program was held.

To conclude the training, offline participants presented their takeaways on the role of strategic purchasing in improving healthcare. Presentations highlighted the challenges and opportunities associated with implementation of the concepts addressed throughout the executive education program, and groups had the opportunity to receive feedback from HCHP’s international experts and other guest speakers.

For NHSA’s post-training announcement in Chinese, please see the WeChat article here.



Winnie (Chi-Man) Yip
Professor of Global Health Policy and Economics
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

William (Bill) Hsiao
K.T. Li Professor of Economics,        Emeritus
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public    Health

Professor of Health Economics and Former Dean
School of Public Health, Fudan    University

Weiyan JIAN
Associate Professor and Asst. Dean
School of Public Health,
Peking University

Somsak Chunharas
Former Deputy Minister of Public Health of Thailand
President, Thai NHF

Hongqiao FU
Assistant Professor
School of Public Health,
Peking University

Raymond Kuo
Associate Professor
College of Public Health, NTU

Senior Health Specialist
World Bank Group

Feng XIE
Professor of Health Economics
McMaster University