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Diagnostic fraud takes toll in name of health service

Illegal clinics, diagnostic centers hamper people

Golam Mostafa Jibon: Despite several drives of Health Department, hundreds of illegal and questionable private clinics and diagnostic centers have been running brisk business across the country making the people hostage.
According to the various research reports, the number of such unauthorized clinic and diagnostic centers may exceed 50,000.
According to the related sources, there are only 6,868 diagnostic centers with valid license in the country, but the number of illegally established centers will exceed 50,000. Throat cutting trade is going on in the name of medical services in these institutions.
The number of licensed diagnostic centers in the capital alone is more than 700. But in reality, there are more than 5,000 diagnostic centers in the capital. There is hearsay that, people from raw material traders to fish traders have now become owners of diagnostic centers. They don’t care about modern medical care, only profiteering.
Despite repeated announcements, the Department of Health could not continue effective nationwide operations for the year. Rather, it has been alleged that, some dishonest officials of the health department are maintaining those illegal diagnostic centers in exchange of financial benefits.
Though, the operations already carried out by RAB have been appreciatedby the people, it is not possible for them to continue the frequent operations for the whole year. As a result, illegal diagnostic centers spread across the country randomly. Most of the centers do not have official approval. Somewhere the business of the hospital is being carried out after taking approval of the diagnostic center. In this process, patientsare admitted by different tricks. Then, doctors are hired from elsewhere. Thus, many patients are being harassed after falling into the trap.
Signboard shower such institutions do not comply with rules and regulations, in contrary all diagnostic tests are carried out by so-called technicians. They are deceiving innocent people by providing fake reports. There are many cases of getting different sorts of reports from different diagnostic centers for the same disease test. In this regard, the Director General of Health Services Professor Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said that, “The operation against the officials and employees of illegal clinics and diagnostic centers will be continued. We have come to know that, taking the opportunity of our simplicity, a section of officials and employees of such illegal clinics and diagnostic centers are cheating with the patient’s day after day. Meanwhile, we have launched a campaign against such move. In the second phase of the campaign, the Health Department has closed 850 illegal private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and blood banks across the country.”
The DG also said, the registration number of the institutions and the date of expiry of the registration must be mentioned on the signboards from now. The second phase of the campaign against illegal private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and blood banks began on August 29. Since then, the Health Department has closed 850 unauthorized institutions across the country till September 1. Among them, 20 institutions were sealed off in the capital.
Director General further said, many diagnostic centers have already termed as patient killing factories. The patients and their relatives are often confused about the reports received from these centers. Despite various criticisms, the arbitrary test trade of diagnostic center owners with the help of some unscrupulous doctors in government hospitals has been going on for years. People are victims of diagnostic fraud. But, complaints are not getting redressed.
Complaints have been raised that, the pathological departments of most government hospitals including Dhaka Medical College Hospital can’t be self-sufficient due to the greed of the commission takers. The most expensive modern equipments were installed there several times, but for unknown reasons, thoseturn to uselessshortly. Though, the diagnostic institutes also do not require government approval, some have opened large diagnostic centers and disease treatment centers by applying to the health department for licenses. The responsible authority of the health department has always been extremely apathetic about taking strict action against these establishments. Most of the diagnostic centers don’t have permission from the Department of Environment. Bandages mixed with blood, pieces of meat of human bodies, used syringes and other garbage are being thrown in open spaces around the institutions.
According to rules, they are supposed to be burned in incinerators. There are allegations that syringes and other equipment are washed and reused from these wastes. As a result, infection of various fatal diseases is spreading among each other again.
On the other hand, due to the unplanned dumping of those wastes in the open places, environmental pollution is taking serious turn.
Doctors tick the tests to be done on the chart provided by the diagnostic center. If the patient gets the test report done his or her own chosen diagnostic center, the doctor does not accept the report. The doctor insists on getting the same test done again from his prescribed center. In exchange of it, the center provides commission to the doctor for supplying the patients. Treatment only after the commission is confirmed. Fees are being charged as per the will. Different institutes charge different fees for the same type of pathological examinations. There is a rule to put the rate chart in a visible place of the respective institutions.
It is known that somewhere only the names of specialists are written on the signboards to attract patients and they are paid a monthly fee for using the names. None of the signboard’s mentioned doctoris found when visiting such clinics. Most of the diagnostic centers do not even have skilled technicians with government approved certificates.

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