Hospitals reminded against requiring deposits for emergency cases
File photo shows Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
Hospitals reminded against requiring deposits for emergency cases
Franco Luna ( - December 8, 2019 - 12:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Sunday reminded hospitals that there is a law against asking for cash deposits from patients seeking urgent treatment.

“May batas na laban diyan!” she said in a press statement.

She was referring to the Strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law which President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law on August 3, 2017.

Under the law, hospitals that violate three times shall have their licenses revoked by the Department of Health.

This came in the wake of reports from the DOH on Friday that it is investigating 77 hospitals in the Ilocos region for alleged violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

Section 1 of Republic Act No. 10932 reads:

"In emergency or serious cases, it shall be unlawful for any proprietor, president, director, manager or any other officer, and/or medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care."

DOH Assistant Secretary Charade Mercado Grande said the department was looking to resolve the complaints within six months.

“If we [find] out that there were violations, we will make a report,” Grande told reporters during the DOH fourth quarter media forum in Dagupan.

Hontiveros, who authored the law, praised the DOH for keeping hospitals accountable to the law.

“This law exists precisely to protect every Filipino from hospitals that prioritize profit over care," she said.

The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law prohibits hospital personnel from soliciting advance and/or deposit payments payments before affording patients basic care in emergency cases.

“The promissory note may be in (the) form of mortgage or a co-maker guarantee, to which they could also be liable if the patient neglects his obligation,” Grande said.

The law increases penalties against hospitals and clinics that refuse to administer appropriate initial treatment as well as expands the scope of “basic emergency care” to include “medical procedures and treatment administered to a woman in active labor.”

The law also imposes “the penalty of imprisonment of not less than six months and one day but not more than two years and four months, or a fine of not less than P100,000, but not more than P300,000, or both at the court’s discretion” on its violators.

The Supreme Court in 2018 junked a petition from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. that sought to nullify the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

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