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Maharashtra plans law to ban kickbacks to doctors for referring patients

Maharashtra plans law to ban kickbacks to doctors

The government has appointed a nine-member committee under Pravin Dixit, former director general of police, to study laws against kickbacks in developed and developing countries and put together guidelines for the state.

The Maharashtra government announced on Saturday that it would create a new law to ban doctors from taking kickbacks from other doctors and hospitals to refer patients for advanced – and expensive – medical tests. Known as ‘cut practice’ in the medical community, it was the target of a recent billboard campaign by the Asian Heart Institute, Bandra-Kurla Complex.

Maharashtra plans law to ban kickbacks to doctors

The government has appointed a nine-member committee under Pravin Dixit, former director general of police, to study laws against kickbacks in developed and developing countries and put together guidelines for the state. A number of eminent doctors, and administrators of the Maharashtra Medical Council and Indian Medical Association are on the committee.

The law will be called the Cut practices in Medical Services Act, 2017. Though the government is in initial stage of forming the guidelines. The core job is to hold primary discussions and advise the state government on exploring ways to structure the law.

The act will make referring patients without any specific medical needs to doctors and hospitals a cognisable offence. If a certain doctor is violates the norms for more than three times, he or she will face punitive action. This will include fines between Rs 5,000 and Rs25,000, based on the number of violations.

However, experts said implemention, not legislation, would be the biggest hurdle.

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