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Monday, May 15, 2017

Senate Passes "Better and Stronger" Anti-Hospital Deposit Law


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The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a law that strengthened the rights of emergency-case patients who are in life and death situations by preventing hospitals from asking for any form of advance payment as a prerequisite for admission or medical treatment.

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, sponsor and principal author of Senate Bill No. 1353, said the measure seeks to amend and strengthen Republic Act. No. 8344 otherwise known as the Anti-hospital Desposit Law by imposing stricter penalties such as 4 to 6 years of imprisonment to erring hospitals who demand any deposit or other form of advance payment, as a prerequisite for admission or medical treatment of an emergency patient.

Hontiveros’s bill also increases the fines for hospitals which refuse to administer basic emergency care from P100,000 to P1,000,000. It also gives authority to the Department of Health (DoH) to revoke the license of a health facility after three repeated violations committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon the instruction of its management.


“Sumbungan Board”

To investigate patient complaints and facilitate the filing of cases in court, the bill also proposes to establish a “Sumbungan Board” or a Health Facilities Oversight Board, which will be under the Department of Health (DOH).

In a short manifestation, Hontiveros expressed her gratitude to her colleagues in the Senate for helping her pass the bill. She particularly thanked Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Richard Gordon, co-authors of the said measure.

“I am happy that the Senate passed a better and stronger Anti-hospital Deposit Law to ensure that our people will not be denied hospital treatment just because they are poor," Hontiveros said.

"We have come one step closer today to our vision of universal health. Harinawa, sa batas na ito, wala nang mahirap na itataboy ng ospital. Wala nang pagkakaitan ng serbisyong pangkalusugan," Hontiveros added.



Fourth bill to be passed

The measure is the fourth bill to be passed by Hontiveros in the Senate in third and final reading after assuming office last July 2016. The other three are: The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill providing women workers 120 days worth of paid maternity leave, the Mental Health Law, which seeks seeks to integrate mental health services and programs in the public health system, and The Speech and Language Pathology Bill, which aims to regulate the practice of speech therapists.

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