TO uphold social welfare for the disadvantaged or indigent communities, Batas Pambansa Bilang 702, as amended by Republic Act No. 10932, prohibits the demand or acceptance of deposits or advance payments as prerequisite for administering basic emergency patient care and medical treatment, including confinement; and the refusal to administer emergency medical treatment or support to a patient in a hospital or medical clinic.
If the hospital or clinic lacks medical capabilities, the attending physician may transfer the patient to a facility where proper care may be given, provided:
1. Both the patient or his/her next of kin and the receiving hospital or clinic agree to the transfer; however, if the patient is incapable of giving consent and/or unaccompanied, consent is not required;
2. Basic emergency care and procedures have been administered to stabilize the patient; and,
3. The patient’s transfer entails lesser risks than his/her continued confinement.
Violators of the Act—whether a medical practitioner, employee, or official of the hospital or medical clinic—will be punished by imprisonment of at least six months and one day to two years and four months, and/or a fine of at least P100,000 to P300,000. Further, directors or officers of hospitals or clinics responsible for formulating and implementing any policy contrary to this Act will be penalized by imprisonment of four to six years, and/or a fine of at least P500,000 to P1,000,000.
Three repeated violations arising from an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon the instruction of its management will result in the revocation of the health facility’s license to operate by the Department of Health, and will make the president, chairman, board of directors, or trustees, and other officers solitarily liable for damages the Court may award to the patient-complainant.
To support the implementation of this Act, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will provide medical help for basic emergency care, while the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will reimburse the cost of basic emergency care, including transportation services, given to poor and indigent patients. As a tax incentive to hospitals and medical clinics, other related expenses which are not reimbursed by PhilHealth will be treated as a deduction from gross income for income tax purposes.
This Act took effect on Aug. 19. (Source: P&A Grant Thornton)