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Fee-Splitting and Associated Ethical Concerns

What is Fee Splitting in the medical profession wrong?

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Dear Student,

By first appreciating what fee-splitting is, you will be better able to appreciate the arguments against it and why it is considered to be wrong. Fee splitting in the medical profession is the practice between physicians whereby the doctor who refers a patient to a specific doctor is compensated or paid for making this referral. In essence, money earned on referrals are shared between both the referring doctor and the physician that received the referral. This is generally considered to be unethical as it has the potential to abuse the ethical principle of beneficence where the physicians are expected to operate in the best interest of the patient. For e.g., patients may be preferentially referred to the physician who is in the fee-splitting arrangement even though they may not necessarily be the best for them to see (and 'best for them' includes components such as affordability, competence/expertise, convenience in terms of location etc). ...

Solution Summary

Brief overview explaining what is meant by fee-splitting among physicians and the arguments why it is considered to be an unethical practice for professionals by leading professional organizations. Sources are also provided for further reading that guide the reader to specific case examples and discussions of controversy surrounding this practice.