Hospitals demanding deposits in emergencies face stiffer penalties
MANILA, Philippines – Hospitals and medical treatment centers now face stiffer penalties if they ask for a deposit from patients in serious medical conditions requiring emergency treatment.
On Thursday, August 3, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No 10932 which amends Batas Pambansa Bilang 702 (as amended by RA 8344).
In the new version of the law, hospital personnel or executives who violate its provisions will be fined from P100,000 to P300,000 or imprisoned from 6 months and one day to two years and 4 months. Courts can also decide to impose both penalties.
Before this amendment, the fines ranged only from P20,000 to P100,000.
The revised measure also says that if the violation was committed because it complies with established hospital or clinic policy, or was done upon the management's instruction, the hospital official responsible for the creation of that policy will be fined from P500,000 to P1 million.
In the older version of the law, the fine for this ranged from only P100,000 to P500,000.
In both versions of the law, there is an option to impose imprisonment for 4 to 6 years or combine this punishment with the fine.
RA 10932 also introduces provisions more specific to cases of pregnant women.
The previous version stated that hospitals could only be held accountable for cases in which they asked for a deposit for patients who needed basic medical care “to prevent death or permanent disability.”
The new version specifically states that they can also be held accountable if they refuse to attend to a woman to prevent “permanent injury or loss of her unborn child, or noninstitutional delivery.”
“Noninstitutional delivery” is defined in the law as the “delivery of a newborn child while in transit, outside of a health facility, after an initial consultation was done with a health facility.”
Yet another crucial update in the law is the addition of Section 5, which states that if the patient dies, sustains a permanent disability or serious impairment of their health due to the denial of treatment, the hospital, medical practitioner, or employee involved are presumed to be liable.
Section 6, another new section, creates a Health Facilities Oversight Board under the Department of Health to receive complaints or reports about any violation of the law.
Section 7 is an assurance to hospitals that PhilHealth will reimburse the cost of basic emergency care and transportation incurred by the hospital or clinic for the emergency medical services given to poor and indigent patients.
Local government units have a bigger role to play in the newly amended law. If the hospital or clinic has to transfer the patient to another facility but has no ambulance available, the LGU where the hospital or clinic is located must provide an emergency vehicle for free. – Rappler.com