If it is not right do not do it!

 

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Working in a clinical setting brings many challenges which put one’s integrity and morals through a test. You can easily find yourself crossing lines you never thought you would because of different circumstances. The biggest test however is anchoring yourself in the face of those challenges and not compromising your integrity. Integrity as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles (Getzler, 2007).  It is easy to assume that our integrity is only tested in big ways like not abusing whatever authority we might have over our colleagues or knowing that sexually harassing a person is not only unacceptable but it could even go as far as costing you your job but it is also the things that could be easily viewed as not important or small like honesty and always choosing to do the right thing even when choosing to do wrong would be easier and even beneficial to you.

 

I have always perceived health care professionals as honest and compassionate people, people who always do what is right, even when nobody is looking. This perception slowly changed as I learned that some health professionals are involved in medical scheme frauds.

Healthcare fraud is white-collar crime involving the filing of dishonest healthcare claims in order to achieve a profit. The term “white-collar crime” was created at an American Sociological Association lecture in 1939 by guest lecturer, Dr E Sutherland. He defined the term as a “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”.

 

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I overhead a person in the taxi one time talking about wanting to go to a doctor for a fraudulent sick note that she would buy from some doctor in Khayelitsha and use it to get a day off work. The person went on to mention how easy it is for her to get one and how everyone is doing it. People getting these fraudulent sick notes has become such a norm that issuing them can be dismissed as not compromising one’s integrity, just because it seems like harmless and small act and because “everyone is getting them or issuing them” but the truth is it is committing fraud.

Before now I have never asked myself the question of what I would do if I would ever find myself in the position of being tempted to do wrong to help a family member or to gain financially or to get myself out of whatever predicament I would be in that requires me to go against my morals and against the ethics of my profession and after reading extensively about the consequences people have had to bare for doing wrong at the workplace, consequences which were as severe as job loss for some I have decided nothing is worth risking my career over.

 

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The majority health care professionals continue to practice their profession with integrity and professionalism, but the number of fraudsters is increasing. Ethics and moral reasoning can only help to a point. There will always be a small percentage of individuals who while being fully aware of the difference between ethical conduct and misconduct, will opt for the latter. Healthcare fraud is not a victim-less crime. Therefore, healthcare professionals must inform on colleagues who practice it.

 

References

Getzler, L. S. (2007). Work and integrity. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions27(3), 193. doi:10.1002/chp.126

 

Ogunbanjo, G. A., & Knapp van Bogaert, D. (2014). Ethics in health care: healthcare fraud.Official Journal of South African Academy of Family Physicians56(1), 10-13. Retrieved from http://www.safpj.co.za/index.php/safpj/article/view/4028

 

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3 Replies to “If it is not right do not do it!”

  1. Hello Anela. I agree with your opening paragrap and think in the world of today with our profession it is so important to know who you are and what you stand for so that when you find yourself in a situation where you are being questioned and doubting you can remind yourself where you come from and stand firm in what you believe. It is not always easy to do the right thing but it is the ethnical way of doing things; doing what will benefit the patient.Your topic of discussion was very interesting as i have not heard of this before or realize it is a thing people do. Your piece was very much based on literature and I would’ve liked to read more about how it affected your own clinical practice as well as how you would personally react if you had found yourself in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  2. Hello Anela.
    Indeed some times we come across situations that can easily make us forget who we are and find ourselves crossing the concrete boundaries we set for our selves. self-knowledge, critical thinking and preserving high ethical values should be what we always live for as health professionals. Issuing Fraudulent sick certificates seems like a common practice lately as I have heard of a similar case of a health care professional who was selling chickens to patients and billing them on their medical aids, nevertheless it might have been a speculation, however, ” where there is fire there is a smoke”.

    Interesting blog, good sentence flow. Your use of media added a significant effect to what you are saying, the topic Is well aligned with the module content.
    It would have been lovely to add a sentence or two about, what the health care arena is saying about this, what tempts health care workers to perform these acts of dishonesty, and how it has changed the way you perceive the health system
    you had good and valid points throughout.
    Good

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  3. Hi Anela..In one of my blogs i wrote about the similar topic but my experience was different from yours.Fraud is really an issue in the health sector and apparently it contributes to factors that affect our economy because it costs our government a lot. it.As human beings we have became so greedy and selfish and it is so unfortunate that there has been an increase of such fraud in the health sector.i personally think fraudsters should be taken behind bars and their qualifications be destroyed.Fraud that involves the health sector ,especially the one like your case, whereby you overheard people talking about getting face sick notes ,this will make it difficult to tell when people are really off sick or they just went to get days off to accomplish their missions.Anyway,thank you for sharing your experience and voicing out your views about this topic.Your post is short,straight to the point which makes it easy to follow,Well done.

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