Limitation and Improvement Plan of Maternity Healthcare Delivery System in Korea

Jong Yun Hwang
The Korean healthcare delivery system has been operating for over 30 years since 1989. Despite a positive performance—providing quality medical services to the people by distributing medical resources—there are limitations to the maternity healthcare delivery system. If the maternity healthcare delivery system was operating successfully, there should have been sufficient delivery hospitals so that pregnant women can access the appropriate maternity medical services whenever needed.
more » ... , according to the National Health Insurance Service, the number of maternity health facilities in Korea reduced from 1,371 in 2003 to 541 in 2019. Regrettably, a larger number of obstetric hospitals and clinics have closed in medically vulnerable areas, such as farming and fishing areas, than urban areas with sufficient medical infrastructure, creating obstetrically underserved areas. In 2020, 65 out of a total of 250 cities, counties, and districts had no obstetric hospitals or clinics. To improve the collapsing maternity healthcare delivery system, a different approach is required; one in which policy support to stop the closure of delivery hospitals is emphasized. New maternity-related medical insurance payments, such as delivery labor management fees, fetal heart monitoring reading fees, and newborn care in delivery rooms fees, and active support policies are needed to prevent the closure of delivery hospitals. In this era of low fertility, because the maternity healthcare system is essential to maintain the nation, a healthcare delivery system different from the existing one must be established.
doi:10.21896/jksmch.2021.25.4.250 fatcat:qmubnpnpdvemvdfnbonygweb3q