Rs 1.4 crore in cash, 3.5 kg gold were seized from five B’luru medical labs during the raids.

Raid reveals how labs make crores and pay money to doctors for referralsRepresentational image
news I-T raids Sunday, December 03, 2017 - 11:01

The nexus between doctors and laboratories across the country, aimed at looting patients, is an open secret. Now, an Income Tax raid has revealed exactly how doctors get their commissions from referred labs.

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 during raids conducted on five medical labs and two In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) clinic doctors in Bengaluru during the last three days, said a top tax official on Saturday.

"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.

The searches also found that though the labs had declared previously undisclosed income of over Rs 100 crore, the referral fees in the case of a single lab exceeded Rs 200 crore.

Revenue sharing with Doctors

The Department has found that the labs have revenue sharing agreements with some doctors by which referral fee was paid in cheques.

According to the department, there are four ways in which doctors were being paid by labs.

a. Cash payments made on a fortnightly basis.

b. Advance in cash paid to the doctors as a kind of imprest cash from which the actual referral fees payable is adjusted. The advance is again recouped on a fortnightly basis

c. In some cases, referral fees paid to doctors in cheque is disguised and shown in books as professional fees. In this kind of cases, an agreement with doctors is made by which they are taken as in-house consultants. However, they neither come to Diagnostic centres nor see the patients or write reports. This payment is a disguised referral fee.

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

The normal commission for doctors in these labs for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test was found to be 35%, and about 20% in case of Computed Tomography (CT) scan and other lab tests, it said.

Some of the labs that were raided had employed "commission agents" who would distribute money to doctors in envelopes, Ramesh said.

“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.

IANS Inputs.

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