President Duterte signs strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit law

The law prohibits demand of deposits or advance payments for the confinement or treatment of patients in hospitals and medical cases.

On August 4, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10932 or the Strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law which raises penalties for hospitals and health professionals who refuse to treat patients in emergency situations.

The law includes imprisonment of up to four to six years for hospitals who demand any deposit or other forms of advance payment as a pre-requisite for admission or medical treatment of an emergency patient. Violators will also face a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P300,000.

Section 1 of RA 10932 provides that it is unlawful for any personnel of a 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."

In the case of "inadequacy" of medical capabilities of the hospital or medical clinic, the law allows the attending physician may transfer the patient to a facility providing appropriate care, given that the patient gets necessary emergency treatment and support.
If there is no ambulance available for use for the emergency transfer of the patient, the law mandates local government unit where the hospital or medical clinic is located to allow the free use of its emergency vehicle.

The Department of Health (DOH) has also been authorized to revoke the license of a health facility after three repeated violations pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon the instruction of its management.

The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1353 and House Bill 5159 passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on May 24.

Photo courtesy: Odyssey Online