“MAY batas na laban diyan!”
This was the warning issued by Senator Risa Hontiveros on Sunday as the Department of Health (DOH) investigated complaints against hospitals that may have violated Republic Act 10932, otherwise known as the Strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, when they allegedly asked for cash deposits from patients.
“Panatag ang loob ko na hindi pinapalampas ng DOH ang pagiging abusado ng ilang mga ospital,” Hontiveros said as reports revealed that as many as 77 cases are now being investigated by the health department.
Hontiveros, who authored the law, explained that in cases of emergency which can lead to a patient’s death, hospitals should not “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment” before administering basic emergency care.
“Tandaan po natin: walang katumbas na pera ang buhay ng isang tao. This law exists precisely to protect every Filipino from hospitals that prioritize profit over care,” she added. The said measure became law in August of 2017.
Hontiveros is urging the public to “test the law.”
“May tinalagang Sumbungan Board ang DOH para sa batas na ito. Isumbong natin ang mga abusadong ospital para matigil ang mga ganitong pangyayari,” Hontiveros reminded the public.
Under the law, complaints are filed with the Health Facilities Oversight Board (complaints can be coursed through the hotline 165-364 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Should any hospital be found guilty of violating the act, guilty practitioners may be fined up to Php300,000 and face imprisonment of up to two years and four months. If hospitals create and implement a policy of asking for deposits even in emergency cases, they will face fines of up to one million pesos and a prison term of up to six years. Three repeated violations can result in the revocation of the offending hospital’s or clinic’s license.
“Pinapaalala ko sa lahat na walang katumbas na kita ang buhay ng isang tao. Profit will never trump people’s right to healthcare,” Hontiveros concluded. (PR)