Monday, August 8, 2016
Hontiveros to Conduct Inquiry on Violations of Hospital Deposit Law
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros vowed to conduct a senate inquiry on the reported violations of several hospitals of Republic Act 8344 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, which prohibits any hospital and medical facility to demand any deposit or any other form of advance payment, as a prerequisite for admission or medical treatment of a patient to prevent death or serious harm.
Hontiveros, who is the newly-elected chairperson of the Senate' Committee on Health expressed alarm regarding cases of some hospitals’ refusal to follow the law. She said her committee will investigate the said cases and other reports of hospital negligence "to end the cruel practice of giving premium to profits over and above the public's health."
"Kahit saan natin tignan, mas mahalaga ang buhay ng tao kaysa anumang deposito. Ang deposito ay mababayaran. Ang buhay na nawala ay hindi maibabalik o matatawaran," Hontiveros said.
Early this year, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Hospital came under fire when Andrew Pelayo took to social media to air his grievance regarding his wife’s miscarriage due to the hospital’s refusal to provide treatment before any deposit was made. In 2014, Hontiveros slammed the Butuan Doctors Hospital over the death of a 10-year old girl who was refused hospital care because her family failed to produce the P30,000 deposit demanded by the medical establishment.
Recently, another case of neglect is being investigated by the Department of Health (DoH) at the Casimiro Ynares Sr. Memorial Hospital. While no deposit was asked in exchange for medical assistance, a two-year old child lost her life when the hospital made her wait in line for hours.
To address this growing concern, Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 216 [SB216] which seeks to impose heavier fines for hospitals that violate the law and possible nullification of erring hospitals’ license to operate. The bill also provides tax deduction for hospitals that admit indigent or poor patients in cases of emergency.
The said senate bill also hopes to create a Health Facilities Oversight Board, chaired by a Department of Health representative. “The Board will provide a clear channel for redress of grievances by patients and ensuring their rights and welfare”, Hontiveros said.
“Hospitals should know that their primary duty is to save lives. The government must make an example of medical establishments who believe profits are more important than the lives of the people." Hontiveros ended.