A sting operation by Cobrapost has revealed private hospitals across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore offering handsome rewards to doctors and smaller hospitals who send their patients to these multi-speciality hospitals for serious ailments.
Operation While Coat found rackets in 20 hospitals, including Fortis Hospital (with a branch each in Mumbai and Bangalore), JP Hospital, Metro Hospital in Noida; Yashoda Hospital and Columbia Asia Hospital (with a branch in Bangalore) in Ghaziabad; MAX Hospitals (in Saket and Patparganj), Apollo Hospital (with a branch in Bangalore), BLK Super Speciality Hospital, all in Delhi; Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Hiranandani Hospital, Asian Heart Institute, Seven Hills Hospital and Jaslok Hospital, all in Mumbai; and Narayana Hrudayalaya College of Nursing and Mallya Hospital both in Bangalore.
During the investigation, Cobrapost special correspondent interviews interviewed marketing officials, not less than the rank of assistant managers, of these hospitals who without exception admitted on camera of the thriving racket of giving commissions to doctors and smaller hospitals for referrals.
As reported by Cobrapost, the following confessions were made by the hospitals’ authorities:
- Handsome commissions to individual doctors, nursing homes and smaller hospitals, which cannot handle serious ailments, on all referrals.
- Each hospital had an elaborate process for such referrals and pay-offs thereof.
- Commissions to individual doctors were paid out to them as consultation fee.
- In addition to regular cuts, some of these hospitals also gave expensive gifts to doctors.
- They have a well-oiled network of doctors and small nursing homes and hospitals, to help them generate a steady business out of patients’ needs for specialised treatment.
Malpractice under the Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines
“A physician shall not give, solicit, or receive nor shall he offer to give solicit or receive, any gift, gratuity, commission or bonus in consideration of or return for the referring, recommending or procuring of any patient for medical, surgical or other treatment. A physician shall not directly or indirectly, participate in or be a party to act of division, transference, assignment, subordination, rebating, splitting or refunding of any fee for medical, surgical or other treatment,” says the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002 Chapter 6 Unethical Acts.
Despite it being illegal, the hospitals resorted to giving bribes for increasing their business.
In the video uploaded by Cobrapost, Sr. Manager Sumit of Max Hospital, Saket says, “10 per cent hota hai aur wo excluding … (We give 10 per cent [cut] and that is excluding …),” Sumit informs us but refuses to give us the rate list: “Yaar wo main officially to de nahi sakta (I cannot give you that list officially).” However, one will be eligible for this referral cut only when he is informed three hours before a patient is admitted.
Senior Manager Ram Naresh Bhagat of Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi tells the undercover reporter that he can get 10% cut on referrals for almost all medical procedures, and the payments are made by cheque favouring only those with whom the hospital will have entered into an agreement. Apollo also receives patients from abroad, and if he refers a foreign patient to them, he can make a neat cut of 15%.
Similar conversations go on.
The Logical Indian take
It is a disheartening reality that the ones responsible for our health, take advantage of our sufferings. The acts of these private hospitals are unethical, illegal and dangerous. They are duping patients and The Logical Indian community commends Cobrapost for bringing this to the notice of the general public. We hope that a proper investigation is carried out based on the operation and the hospitals are brought to justice under the MCI guidelines.