Stiffer fines backed vs greedy hospitals

Currently, violators face four to six years of prison sentences and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million

Officers and directors of hospitals and clinics demanding deposits from patients before administering treatment for emergencies and serious cases may face a maximum fine of P5 million and a 12-year prison sentence.

The increase in penalties was contained in House Bill 3046 which seeks to amend Republic Act 10932, otherwise known as Anti-Hospital Deposit Act. It was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on 3 August 2017 and implemented the following year.

Currently, violators face four to six years of prison sentences and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million.

However, due to significant reports of hospitals violating the law five years after its enactment, the bill’s authors stressed that the current penalties imposed on erring medical employees and officials should be increased further.

“The (Anti-Hospital Deposit Law) asserts the rights of an individual to be admitted to any hospital and be given basic emergency care without being asked to hand over an advance payment outright,” said the bill’s authors, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Partylist Reps. Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano.

DoH hotline

“Hence, hospitals, in general, are duty bound to provide care and treatment to those who are injured or suffering,” they added.

Aside from stringent penalties, the bill also includes the establishment of a Department of Health-managed government hotline where people can immediately call to seek immediate assistance regarding violations of the law.

It also includes a provision that allows for filing administrative cases against erring hospital employees and officials, with the corresponding penalty of professional license suspension, cancellation, or revocation.

This would be on top of the DoH’s revocation of the medical facility’s license to operate following three repeated violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law arising from an established policy or instructions of its management.

According to the proposed legislation, the president, chairperson, board of directors or trustees, and other officers will be held solidarily liable for any damages awarded to the patient-complainant by the court.

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