In light of the press releases on the subject of “patient referral” and the headlines about several hospital scandals, I often miss a decisive note. I believe that hospitals have a duty to carefully select their business partners. The short-termed, profit-oriented thinking may not be prioritized over the patients well being and the legal order.

Nevertheless, both, hospital management, employees of the international departments and physicians have proposed business structures to me, that violate recent legislation and good faith. I do not want to judge whether our rejection of these business practices has impacted our companies success, (e.g. the International Patient Service – Germany). However, I know that numerous other providers accept such offers and also make them themselves.

I do not expect every healthcare provider to perform a “due diligence” that equals a publicly listed company, but a structured protocol of control mechanisms, clear compliance requirements and less conscious ignorance in the selection of their cooperation partners would certainly go a long way in preventing violations of the law and harm to the patients.

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