“Doctors and hospitals’ administrators will be held accountable if patients are unnecessarily referred to private labs”– Dr Avinash Supe, Medical Director and Dean of KEM Hospital.
Mumbai: Acting on the presumed thriving nexus between certain BMC Hospital doctors and private sector pathological laboratories, the dean of KEM hospital has issued a list of measures to curb the practice of ‘receiving commission’ for referring patients popularly known in the medical field as “cut practice”.
While issuing an order recently, Dr Avinash Supe, Medical Director and Dean of KEM Hospital, clearly integrated that the BMC hospitals’ own labs are well-equipped to handle all sorts of pathological investigations and there should be no need to involve a private laboratory, barring a few exceptional cases.
To prevent the outflow of tests, the order included the following measures
- Prominently displaying a list of all the tests available in-house.
- Barring entry of agents representing private labs in civic hospitals.
- No sample to be sent to a private lab without the clearance of a senior lecturer and the chief medical officer.
- From now on, all BMC-run hospitals will have to maintain a log of patients referred to private labs.
“The signatories must then put a note in hospital’s records justifying the need to send this particular sample out,” the order further stated.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Dr Supe stated that he issued the directive after receiving a series of complaints from patients and people’s representatives. “I don’t understand why blood samples are sent to private labs despite 90 per cent of the tests being available in-house. I have noticed that even routine tests are referred to private laboratories,” he said.
“Doctors and hospitals’ administrators will be held accountable if patients are unnecessarily referred to private labs,” Dr Supe affirmed.
Cut Practice, particularly in diagnostic services is a growing menace in the Indian Medical System. In August last year, in the bill for The Prevention of Cut Practices in Healthcare Services Act, 2017; Maharashtra had come out and it spelt out harsh penalties for both who take cuts for referring patients/soliciting medicines, and those who give cuts/commissions.
The bill clearly stated, “Any healthcare Service Provider found guilty of involvement in cut practice shall be liable to be punished with simple imprisonment up to 5 years, or a fine of 50,000, or both. This will additionally draw a suspension of 3 months from the respective council.”