Duterte signs law amending Anti-Hospital Deposit Law

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law amending the Batasan Pambansa 702 to prohibit demand of deposits or advance payments for the confinement or treatment of patients in hospital and medical cases.

Under Republic Act (RA) 10392 signed by Duterte on August 3, 2017. 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”.

The law indicates that “any official, medical practitioner or employee of a hospital or medical clinic who violates the provision of this act shall, upon conviction by final judgment be punished by imprisonment of not less than six months and one day but not more than two years and four months, or a fine more of not less than P100, 000 but not more than P300, 000.00 or both at the discretion of the court.

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 patients 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.

In addition to that, “if such violation was committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic, or upon instruction of its management, the director or officer of the hospital or clinic responsible for the formulation and implementation of such policy shall, upon the conviction by final judgment suffer imprisonment of four to six years, or a fine less than P500, 000 but not more than P1,000,000 or both at the discretion of the court.

Three repeated violations from hospitals may also lead to the castigation of the facility’s license by the Department of Health (DOH). The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1353 and House bill 5159 passed by the Senate and the House of Representative on May 24.

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