Medical Assistance

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION AND PROVIDERS LIST

The information below is submitted as an information resource only and is not meant to be comprehensive. Travelers are advised to consult the CDC’s traveler’s health website prior to departing for China.

AIR QUALITY IN CHINA

Air pollution is a significant problem in northern China. Pollutants such as particle pollution are linked to a number of significant health effects and those effects are likely to be more severe for sensitive populations, including people with heart or lung disease, children, and older adults. U.S. citizens living in or traveling to China may wish to consult their doctor prior to traveling to areas with significant air pollution and should take precautions while in China.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates have air quality monitors to measure PM 2.5 particulates as an indication of the air quality. Please click here.

MEDICAL FACILITIES

Western style medical facilities with international staff are available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and a few other large cities. Many other hospitals in major Chinese cities have so-called VIP wards / Special Needs (te xu) wards with reasonably up-to-date medical technology and skilled physicians who typically speak English.

Ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment, and ambulance personnel generally have little or no medical training. Therefore, injured or seriously ill Americans may be required to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles to the nearest major hospital rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive. In rural areas, only rudimentary medical facilities are generally available. Medical personnel in rural areas are often poorly trained, have little medical equipment or availability to medications. Rural clinics are often reluctant to accept responsibility for treating foreigners, even in emergency situations.

To find a hospital near you in China, please click here (PDF 1005 KB)

MEDICAL INSURANCE/ MEDICAL EVACUATIONS – Click here for a list of Air Medical Evacuation Resources covering China.

All Americans traveling to China are encouraged to buy foreign medical care and medical evacuation insurance prior to arrival. Most hospitals in China will not accept medical insurance from the United States, with the exception of the following hospitals, which are on the BlueCross BlueShield’s worldwide network providers.

Hospitals in major cities may accept credit cards for payment but U.S. citizens have frequently encountered difficulty due to cultural and regulatory differences.  Travelers are typically asked to post a deposit prior to admission to cover the expected cost of treatment.

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Furthermore, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.  Many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Here are a few medical insurance policies designed for travelers. Some of these companies have staff in China who can assist in the event of a medical emergency. For additional information on medical insurance, check out: Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION

Most roads and towns in Tibet, Qinghai, parts of Xinjiang, and western Sichuan are situated at altitudes over 10,000 feet. Travelers in these areas should seek medical advice in advance of travel, allow time for acclimatization to the high altitude, and remain alert to signs of altitude sickness. Reuse or poor sterilization practices are problems in China, contributing to transmission of diseases such as Hepatitis, which is endemic in China. In order to avoid contamination, travelers should always ask doctors and dentists to use sterilized equipment and be prepared to pay for new syringe needles in hospitals or clinics.  Here are links to:

Alcoholics Anonymous
Website: http://www.aa.org
Beijing:139-1138-9075,
Shanghai: 137-0171-5848
Hong Kong: (00852) 9073-6922

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
website:   http://www.cdc.gov
Tel: (877) 394-8747

World Health Organization
Provides information on outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad
China Website: http://www.who.int/countries/chn/en/