MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill seeking higher penalties for hospitals and clinics which refuse to treat emergency or serious cases in the absence of deposit.
Under Republic Act 10392, which amends the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, it would be unlawful for a hospital or clinic to “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care to any patient.”
RA 10392 raises the penalty against any medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic who will violate the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law to P100,000 but not over P300,000.
Previously, under Batas Pambansa Bilang 702, as amended by RA 8344, the fine for this type of offender ranges from P20,000 to P100,000.
If proven that the violation of the law was committed due to the hospital’s established policy, the director or officer of the hospital or clinic responsible for the formulation and implementation of such policy shall be fined with P500,000 to P1 million. The previous fine for them was set at P100,000 to P500,000.
A judge also has the option to penalize the violators with imprisonment.
The law can also now cause the revocation of a hospital or clinic’s license to operation if the violation of the law was repeated thrice.
“The president, chairman, board of directors, or trustees and other officers of the health facility shall be solidarily liable for damages that may be awarded by the court to the patient-complainant,” the law reads.
The law introduced 4 new sections. One of the new provisions states that a hospital or clinic shall be held liable in case of death, permanent disability, serious impairment of the health condition of the patient, or in the case of pregnant woman, permanent injury or loss of her unborn child, proceeding from the denial of his or her admission to the health facility.
The law also mandates that all complaints for violations of the law shall be initially filed before a health facilities oversight board under the Department of Health.
The third new section requires PhilHealth to reimburse the cost of basic emergency care and transportation services incurred by the hospital or medical clinic. The fourth new section makes the expenses of hospitals in attending to poor and indigent patients not reimbursed by PhilHealth tax deductible.