White Coats, Dark Hearts: How doctors fleece the sick


20 Apr 2015 | by
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White Coats, Dark Hearts: How doctors fleece the sick

Kenyan doctors are testing patients for non-existent diseases and performing unnecessary procedures for commissions paid commissions.

The Gazette Weekly has learnt that this corruption pipeline is oiled by hospitals and drug companies, who give doctors kickbacks to prescribe expensive drugs, conduct lab tests and admit patients in hospitals to generate income for the institutions.

Investigations by The Gazette Weekly show that some doctors earn as high as 40 per cent to prescribe lab tests, cesarean surgeries for expectant mothers, radiology, X-rays, MRIs among others when they know very well that their patients do not need them.

 

The Gazette Weekly learnt that the issue was discussed in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Kenya Association of Radiologists.

 

“This issue was discussed as an agenda in our special AGM in June this year and we warned the members of the action that we could take as exposing members involved. We also asked members to forward any evidence to the council given that, It would be hard to report or take action if we have no concrete evidence,” says the Association chair Dr Vera Manduku.

 

After the AGM, Dr Manduku reminded association members against the practice and called on them to report their colleagues.

While we appreciate that many are negatively affected in their line of practice, I am also aware that a few of us are propagating the vice... We decry this practice and hope that we all refuse to pay commissions and hope that you shall forward any persons demanding payment to the council,” says Dr Manduku.

According to investigations, hospitals and laboratories are giving doctors kicks back as high as 40% to engage in these illegal acts that were first reported in India where the exercise is rampant.

 

According to documents seen by The Gazette Weekly some of the tests also known as sink tests, carried out on patients are done to earn commissions and will be thrown away as first as they are done. The sink tests are blood, urine, and stool samples among others. Investigations also established that expectant mothers walking into maternities countrywide are convinced by doctors to undergo an Unnecessary cesarean surgeries and hysterectomies. “Many surgical procedures are done to keep the cash register ringing. Cesarean deliveries and hysterectomy (removal of uterus) are high on the list. While the woman with labour -pains is screaming and panicking, the obstetrician who gently suggests

that cesarean is best seems like an angel sent by God!,” says the report obtained by The Gazette Weekly.

The report also says that some women give doctors an opportunity to earn commissions and kickbacks as ‘they can be frightened by words like “ and “fibroids” that are in almost every normal woman’s radiology reports’.

“When a gynecologist gently suggests womb removal “as a precaution”, most women and their husbands agree without a second’s thought”, says the report.

 According to the report, the commissions earned are, 30-40% for referring to consultants, specialists & surgeons.

When your friendly GP refers you to a specialist or surgeon, he gets 30- 40%, 30-40% of total hospital charges. If the GP or consultant recommends hospitalization, he will receive kickback from the private nursing home as a percentage of all charges including ICU, bed, nursing

care, surgery, admitting the patient to “keep him under observation”.

“People go to cardiologists feeling unwell and anxious. Most of them aren't really having a heart attack, and cardiologists and doctors are well aware of this. They admit such safe patients, put them on a saline drip with mild sedation, and send them home after 3-4 days after charging them a fat amount for ICU,bed charges, visiting doctors’ fees,” says the report. Doctors who did not want to be named say that Kenyan doctors and hospitals borrowed the vice from India and Egypt.

“In Cairo it was official. MRI was priced at

US$ 105, US$ was for referring patients to another doctor,” says one of the top specialist doctors in the country.

The chairman of a department at a leading hospital in

the country says that ‘It is extremely challenging to address this issue but we must nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit with all referring doctors,” says the doctor who chose to remain anonymous.urt

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