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1 week ago

Doctors or Extortionists ? SKIMS Patients Pay the Price for Doctor-Lab Nexus

Srinagar: Patients seeking care at J&K’s premier health institution, Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) are allegedly subjected to unnecessary diagnostic tests due to a nexus between doctors and private diagnostic centers.

Many people who visited SKIMS hospital told Srinagar-based news gathering agency Kashmir Dot Com that there’s a well-known secret deal between ‘some’ doctors and private testing centers outside the hospital.

“Even though SKIMS has all the equipment to do the tests, doctors tell patients to get them done at these outside places. The doctors even call the staff from these private testing centers to take the sample for different tests from patients inside the hospital,” they said.

“These outside testing centers also have people working undercover inside the hospital. When a patient gets a prescription for tests, these undercover people immediately find the patient and try to convince them to get tested at their center as soon as possible,” an attendant with a patient narrated.

He said that these undercover agents, like some from Lal Path Lab, take test samples directly from them inside the hospital wards without their full understanding, and then share the results with the doctors directly, again, bypassing the patient’s knowledge.

“This isn’t isolated to Lal Path Lab, and other labs are also involved in similar arrangements with doctors,” they alleged.

“Then, the centers share the test results with the doctors directly, without telling the patients. Everyone involved seems to be ignoring this problem, and it’s costing patients a lot of extra money,” the patients added.

Insiders at SKIMS said that these testing centers pay doctors a share of the money patients pay for tests.

“Some doctors expect this extra money too. The amount of extra money depends on the kind of test, but some doctors get a large portion of the test price!,” they said.

“This is making some doctors skip talking to patients thoroughly and just order a bunch of tests right away. In the past, doctors listened to patients more before deciding on tests. Now, some doctors don’t seem to have the time or willingness to listen,” they added.

The question is: Are these extra tests really helping patients, or are they just a way for doctors and testing centers to make more money? This dishonest system is unfair to patients and makes them worry without reason.

Medical Superintendent SKIMS while talking to Kashmir Dot Com said that we have issued a circular with clear instructions not to allow these people inside the hospital. There is a clear circular that has been sent to the security officer, which I will check with him,” he said, adding that “We have standardized labs here at SKIMS. We only send tests outside that are not conducted here, but we do not allow anyone to take samples within the hospital”.

Currently without a director, SKIMS is under the additional charge of the Secretary of the Health and Medical Education Department of J&K. The institute is facing public allegations of a nexus.

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