Social media based money raising platforms have gained popularity in China. Many patients and their families use these platforms to raise money to pay for medical care. However, there are problems with this approach. When they are successful, they often raise large sums of money. But this can sometimes be more than the cost of the treatment.
Often, the audit of these campaigns is not rigorous. Some campaign initiators exaggerate a patient’s illness and the expenses needed, while concealing their income. For many diseases, it does not cost that much to treat them, and health insurance covers part of the cost. Additionally, in some regions treatments for certain diseases, like congenital heart diseases, are free of charge, but there are still campaigns to raise money to treat them. This may lead to more and more people using these platforms unnecessarily. Those who really need help may not be able to raise enough money as people are losing faith in these platforms.
Secondly, some of these platforms charge a certain proportion of the raised money. Therefore they stand to benefit if more money is raised.
The regulation of these platforms needs to be strengthened. Ministries and commissions should join up to monitor this area. Related laws and regulations need to be established and perfected. Connections between platforms, hospitals, and the department of health insurance need to be built, ensuring proper use of money. The platforms themselves must strengthen their auditing systems and take responsibility for verifying information in the campaign. By doing this, the people who really need the money for their treatment will benefit.
Xiao Guan, Department of Urology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.
Declaration of Interests: The author declares no conflicts of interests.