I-T raid reveals how labs across India make crores, pay to doctors for referrals

I-T raid reveals how labs across India make crores, pay to doctors for referrals

New Delhi: Doctors making money from patients’ referrals to the selected laboratories across the country is not a secret anymore. An Income Tax raid has also uncovered how doctors get their commissions from these labs.

According to a top tax official, the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax (I-T) Department has seized Rs 1.4 crore in cash and 3.5 kg gold and jewellery from five medical labs and two In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) clinics in Bangalore in last three days.

“The raids on the five medical diagnostic centres and two IVF clinics/doctors in the city also detected secret foreign bank accounts and deposits worth crores of rupees, besides foreign currency,” I-T Joint Director G Ramesh said on Saturday as per a report by The News Minute.

As per their report, the normal commission for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test was found to be 35%, and 20% in case of Computed Tomography (CT) scan and other tests.

Now one can imagine, how poor people can’t have a proper treatment in this country.

The investigation further found that the referral fees in case of a single lab was more than a whopping sum of Rs 200 crore.

These are ways, through which doctors are paid:

1. Cash payments made after every fifteen days.

2. Advance in cash paid to the doctors as a kind of fixed cash from which the actual referral fees payable is adjusted.

3. In some cases, referral fees paid to doctors through cheque, disguised as professional fees.

4. There are even some revenue sharing agreements with some doctors by which referral fee is paid in cheques.

Some of the labs employ ‘commission agents’ who distribute money to doctors in envelopes, I-T Joint Director said.

Pics: TNM

“These agents insert a small chit in these envelopes, while giving it to doctors. The chit contains all details including names of the patient referred by the doctor, doctor’s name, tests done, amounts billed against the tests, and ‘cuts’/commission amount to be given to the doctor and the date on which the test was done. It is seen that the doctors are very particular about the amounts: where they don’t get their “due” they return the envelopes, the dispute is later settled with the labs,” he said.