Duterte inks into law strengthening Anti-Hospital Deposit Act
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the bill strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by increasing penalties if hospitals and medical clinics refuse to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency or serious cases.
Republic Act No. 109321 inked on August 3, 2017 said in emergency or serious cases, it shall be "unlawful" for the 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 to any patient.
Violators could face not less than six months and one day imprisonment up to six years, and fine of not less than P100,000 up to P1 million. The license of the hospital or medical clinic could be revoked if violations are committed three times.
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 Act stated.
The Philippine Health Insurance shall reimburse the cost of basic emergency care and transportation services incurred by the hospital or medical clinic for the emergency medical services given to poor and indigent patients.
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office is also tasked to provide medical assistance for the basic emergency care needs of the poor and marginalized groups.
Other expenses incurred by the hospital or medical clinic in providing basic emergency care to poor and indigent patients not reimbursed by PhilHealth shall be tax deductible.
The Department of Health, in coordination with PhilHelath and the Bureau of Internal Revenue and in consultation with nongovernment organizations advocating for patients rights and public health, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the Act within 90 days from the effectivity of the law.
The Act shall take effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation. Celerina Monte/DMS