Saturday, July 03, 2010

Medical ethics and double standards

I agree that doctors need to improve their ethical standards, but what really upsets me is the double standards which have now been institutionalised, with the entry of corporate hospitals into the medical field.

While everyone is happy to loudly criticise the specialist who gives kickbacks to the family physician for referring patents to him, why is everyone so mute when it comes to the kickbacks which the hospitals give to doctors for filling their hospital beds ? All corporate hospitals give these cuts and commissions openly and shamelessly. They employ a large number of very presentable executives ( mostly female) in their Dept of Public Relations, and cleverly call it a "patient management fee", when the only management involved is writing the referral note !

It's the same story with the medical tourism companies. All hospitals are happy to give large commissions to these tourism companies for the "facilitation services" they provide, but these are costs which then get passed onto the poor unsuspecting patient !

Why should we allow double standards in medicine ? After all, both doctors in private practise and hospitals are competing for the same patient - let's have a level playing field; and not be hypocritical ! If it's OK for hospitals to give kickbacks ( which they treat as " the cost of doing business") , then let's allow doctors to do this as well ! In fact , doing it openly will help to improve transparency !
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