Draft law on cut practice calls for strict penalties

Proposes Anti-Corruption Bureau inquiries, fines on culprits

The first draft of a law seeking to curb the practice of taking cuts for healthcare services has proposed Anti-Corruption Bureau inquiries, stringent jail terms and penalties to be imposed on culprits.

The proposed draft of The Prevention of Cut Practices in Healthcare Services Act, 2017, was worked upon by a State-appointed eight-member committee. The draft is a preliminary one, and a revised version is likely to be released next month. The proposed legislation will be made available in the public domain before it its finalised and tabled in the State Assembly.

The draft law says the Act aims to prevent and regulate the existing system of commissions, inducements and cuts in the professional fees taken by healthcare service providers of all systems in Maharashtra. The Act also strives to regulate and streamline the existing system of functioning of the healthcare service providers in the State. Cut is a form of commission offered to a doctor by another doctor after a patient is referred for check-ups, diagnostic tests or surgeries.

The draft states that if such an offence comes to light, the ACB will be the authority that will investigate the matter. The draft law states, “Any Healthcare Service Provider found guilty and in violation of Section 3 of this Act shall be liable to be punished with simple imprisonment up to five years, or a fine of ₹50,000, or both.” The committee is yet to decide the years of imprisonment and fine for repeat offenders.

“Jail term is one of the suggestions. The government will get a response from all the stakeholders and then decide the further course of action,” said former Maharashtra DG Pravin Dixit, who heads the eight-member team.

The debate on the cut practice triggered after Asian Heart Institute in Bandra Kurla Complex put up a hoarding near the airport that stated ‘Honest Opinion. No Commission to Doctor’. Many doctors took offence and the Indian Medical Association demanded that AHI should pull down the hoarding as it suggested all other doctors are into the unethical practice.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 7:25:23 PM |

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