A measure imposing a maximum fine worth P5 million on hospitals and clinics demanding deposits before administering treatment for emergency and serious cases has been filed at the House of Representatives.
Under House Bill 3046, Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte cited the need to increase the set of penalties imposed under Republic Act (RA) 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, considering that there are still reports of hospitals allegedly violating the law.
Duterte said the law asserts the right 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.
“This is in consonance with the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take, pledging to help the sick to the best of their ability and knowledge,” the veteran legislator said.
“Hospitals are duty bound to provide care and treatment to those who are injured or suffering.”
“Hence, hospitals, in general, are duty bound to provide care and treatment to those who are injured or suffering,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
Under RA 10932, hospital employees or medical practitioners found guilty of violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law shall be penalized with a P100,000 to P300,000 fine and/or imprisonment of six months to two years.
The same law also imposes higher penalties of imprisonment of four years to six years, and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million, or both, on directors or officers of hospitals or clinics responsible for implementing policies or instructions that violate the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.
“A hospital employee, official, or medical practitioner found violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law will be fined between P500,000 and P1 million or imprisoned from four years to six years, or both.”
Under the proposed measure, a hospital employee, official, or medical practitioner found violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law will be fined between P500,000 and P1 million or imprisoned from four years to six years, or both, upon the discretion of the courts.
If the violation was committed because of the medical facility’s established policy, or upon instructions of its management, the director or officer responsible shall be penalized with imprisonment of six years to 12 years and/or fined P2 million to P5 million under the bill.
Aside from stiffer penalties, the bill also contains a provision mandating the establishment of a Department of Health-administered national hotline where the public can immediately call to seek immediate assistance regarding the law’s violators.
The proposed law would allow the filing of administrative cases against erring hospital employees and officials with the corresponding penalty of suspension, cancellation, or revocation of their professional licenses.
This is on top of the revocation of the medical facility’s license to operate by the health department after three repeated violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law arising from an established policy or instructions of its management.
The bill was also authored by Benguet Representative Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Party-list Representatives Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano.