Exclusive Op-Ed: Asian Heart's side of the story
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Following their advertising campaign titled "Honest Opinion. No commission to Doctors.", Asian Heart Institute has found itself at the receiving end of much criticism and censure from doctors and doctor bodies across the country for implying that other doctors and Institutions engage in the practice of "referral cuts" or "kickbacks".

Asian Heart shares their side of the story in an exclusive editorial for PlexusMD. We invite doctors across the country to read the Institute's perspective and share their views.

Op-Ed Starts

"We interviewed a young radiologist last month for a job, who had sold out his practice. When we asked why he left his practice, he was in tears saying that as a new comer he had to pay 50% as cut practice and could not survive.And he’s too scared to speak up, for fear of being singled out.

Most organisations have an induction- to orient the new employee about the culture, rules and regulations of the company. Introduction to ‘Cut practice' is the medical equivalent of this induction program for our young doctors. Many are forced to practice against their wishes and It then goes on to become a way of life.

Naturally, over the last few decades; we have seen rot of an unimaginable magnitude. Cut practice has moved from the fringe of medical practice to its core, with majority of doctors practicing it. As with the doctor we interviewed, radiologist or a pathologist or a specialist has to pay 40-60% cuts to establish a practice.

Private hospitals instead of focusing on improving quality of care, focus on providing lucrative incentives; in order to fill their beds. It is shameful, because we are the only country in the world where doctors are taking cuts at this magnitude.

Several reputed international journals have also spoken about this menace in India, citing an “unvirtuous cycle of referral and kickback”.

http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3169

Many of our highly respectable colleagues like Dr Nundy, Dr Nagral, Dr Sarin have spoken against it.

It is high time, we as doctors speak up against this most unethical behavior of fleecing our own colleagues, most of the time against their wishes.

Asian Heart institute from its inception has stood for honest opinion and ethical practice. Our VC & MD Dr. Ramakanta Panda has always come out strongly for just causes of doctors through various opinion pieces.

But we realised that we have to do more; even if it meant taking a higher risk.

It wasn't easy for us to take this decision- the cons outweighed the pros.However, we had faith that the ethical doctors would come forward and support us; as they truly have. This has validated our faith and we are forming an informal group of some of the most respected doctors in the country , debate the reform that is needed and take this to the powers that be, and work in accordance with the law of the land. After our awareness campaign, for the first time in the country, the Govt of Maharastra has formed a committee to look into causes of cut practice and enact suitable laws to curb it.

The kind of response we have received via post, mail and messages to us is overwhelming. There are many honest , dedicated doctors in this country and they are tired of this unscrupulous practice , but many are scared to come out.

One of the most satisfying and sweet experiences, was the appeal of a young radiologist; who corrected us by sharing that the cut is not 30-35% ( what we had written ) but 40-60%! The doctor pleaded with us not to back down in the face of criticism. But the movement has started. We got calls from Kanpur that all Radiologists there have decided last month not to give cut. As we write this OPED, we got a call from a senior radiologist. We are putting his message ad verbatim.

"Thanks sir
I have motivated a lot of radiologists to stop and they have.A good example is Nasik
They all stopped and finally saw what I was counseling them that once you stop you are working thirty to fifty percent time for only the referees - once you stop you will have a lot more free time and will in fact earn more as well save on consumables- they are all now earning far more than they were before with much more free time- they have sworn never to Go back to cut practice- we should make short videos of their experiences to educate all - I am happy to drive this!"

On an equally important note- there is a country depending on us, to do the right thing and ensure that the right to healthcare is available to all. That Constitutional right is far greater than any individual doctor in the country.

Team Asian Heart"

Op-Ed ends
Dr. S●●●●a M●●●●●●i and 74 others like this10 shares
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Dr. I●y B●●●●●●e
Dr. I●y B●●●●●●e Biochemistry
The hospitals and diagnostic centers give commission or referral cut to quacks, advertisement agents(through whom they canvas and get patients from remote areas & also from poorer south Asian countries) , rickshaw puller, auto/cab drivers etc. Then why talking about only doctors?!!! If u want to revolutionize & clean the system , then proceed against all. Good initiative taken against only to defame doctors & make themselves a "SADHU"?????... Read more
Jun 22, 2017Like6
Dr. B I P●●●l
Dr. B I P●●●l Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Not only no ,but never ! Explain everyone the meaning of Noble profession Our profession is always linked with service & humanity ,not only earnings,if u want to earn only there are many other professions
Jun 25, 2017Like4
Dr. s●●●j k●●●r j●●a
Dr. s●●●j k●●●r j●●a Neurosurgery
Well as a student its not my right to comment ethically but a good physician never zooming on earning and he/she if a wisely dedicated physician definitely focusing on preventable circumstances of worstness, overcome from obstacles and dominic over disorders..... that is why situations in india patients not satisfying at all...
Sep 27, 2017Like