CEBU CITY, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros, the principal author of the recently passed Enhanced Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, is asking the Department of Health (DOH) to investigate a Cebu-based private hospital for allegedly asking an injured policeman for deposit before he was treated.
Hontiveros, who was in Cebu Tuesday, November 7, for a conference on youth and family planning, also said she wants to personally find out the status of the action taken by the Police Regional Office (PRO) VII against Chong Hua Hospital, where PO3 David Naraja Jr was brought for treatment.
Naraja was taken to the private hospital located in Cebu City after he was shot in the face during a shootout with suspected hitman Jessie Largo in Talisay City. Largo, main suspect in the killing of the son of a former journalist, was killed in the incident.
PRO 7 Chief Jose Mario Espino said the hospital asked for a P10,000 deposit from the police.
“Apparently nademandahan ng deposit bago pa na-stabilize ang condition niya, which seems to be in violation sa batas na no emergency patient ang puwedeng itaboy sa ER just because of a demand for deposit,” Hontiveros said.
(Apparently, they demanded a deposit before his condition was stabilized, [and act] which seems to be in violation of the law that says no emergency patient should be refused from the ER because of a demand for deposit.)
The hospital denied the accusation, claiming that the family of Naraja merely “misinterpreted” the hospital’s partial billing amount quoted by its staff as a demand for deposit.
Naraja was later transferred to the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, where his hospital expenses were covered by the hospital management.
PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa even visited Naraja, and personally pinned the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting to wounded officer.
“This is no way to treat our selfless police personnel, who are risking life and limb to keep us all safe. Whether this incident was intentional or not, this must not be tolerated. There should be zero tolerance for cases such as this,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros, who is also vice chairperson of the Senate committee on health and demography, said she had requested a dialogue with Espino and the DOH regional office. She said her office would also talk to the private hospital to get its side.
“Through these dialogues, I hope to get to the bottom of this issue, and for the appropriate authorities, especially the DOH, to find ways of being more proactive in responding to reports such as this, and properly implementing the Enhanced Anti-Hospital Deposit Law,” Hontiveros said
The senator added that the policy of asking for any deposit as a prerequisite for confinement or medical treatment of a patient much become a thing of the past. “It has no space in any democratic society,” she said.
Under Hontiveros’ law, stricter penalties would be served on hospitals that would demand any deposit or other forms of advance payment in exchange for medical treatment of an emergency patient.
Penalties now include imprisonment of 4 to 6 years and fines ranging from P100,000 to P1 million. The law also gives authority to the DOH to revoke the license of a health facility after 3 violations.
Chong Hua Hospital has already issued a written apology to Naraja and PRO 7. However, Espino said that the hospital’s letter of apology will be referred to Camp Crame’s legal officer for resolution. – Rappler.com