Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) has apologised to the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) for offering incentives to doctors referring patients to the hospital.
The hospital attributed it to the 'over-enthusiasm' of the marketing department and assured restraint in future. The cut offered to doctors ranged between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh.
The hospital's apology follows a show-cause notice by the medical council in May.
The MMC has now asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take action against the hospital.
Since MMC is a quasi-judicial body overseeing the functioning of doctors practising modern medicine, it can act only against doctors and not against hospitals. That's why it has asked BMC to move against the hospital.
The MMC alleged the hospital has been sending entry forms, titled Elite Forum, to various doctors.
"We had received the form from two doctors... it clearly shows rewards for admissions. This indicates doctors are offered a cut for referring patients to the hospital," MMC president Dr Kishor Taori said.
The two-page Elite Forum form promises a "reward" of Rs1 lakh for 40 admissions per annum, Rs1.5 lakh for 50 admissions and Rs2.5 lakh for 75 admissions.
Doctors have to sign and stamp a statement in the form that reads: "I am very happy to know that KDAH has introduced an ELITE FORUM for membership by invitation to senior doctors, for partnering KDAH, and jointly help bring about unique patient experience in line with the best of global hospitals."
In its letter to the BMC, the MMC has sent details of its findings. "MMC can take action only against doctors as doctors are registered with us. In this case, since the hospital is guilty, we have asked BMC to look into the matter. It is the first of its kind case for both MMC and BMC and we hope that BMC takes a note of this, it said."
"Cut practice is very dangerous and spoils doctor-patient relationship. MMC is trying to improve this relationship," said Taori.
dna has copies of the Elite Forum, the MMC letter to BMC and also KDAH's apology.
The cut practice issue shot into the public domain after Dr H S Bawaskar, a physician, filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Medical Council against a private diagnostic laboratory. Bawaskar, based in Mahad, Rigad district, had asked one patient to undergo a CT scan last year. The patient underwent the scan at a private diagnostic laboratory in Pune. After the test, the laboratory sent a cheque worth Rs 1,200 to Bawaskar. When a baffled Bawaskar contacted the lab, he was told the cheque was his professional fee.
Bawaskar then exposed the incident in a medical journal.