Press Release
August 10, 2016

Hontiveros: Imprisonment awaits hospitals violating
anti-hospital deposit law

PASAY CITY - Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros is pushing for a 4-6 year imprisonment for hospital administrators and officials who are guilty of violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.

Hontiveros, who is the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, filed Senate Bill No. 216 that seeks to amend the existing Anti-Hospital Deposit Law and impose stricter penalties.

"Emergency-case patients are in life-and-death situations", Hontiveros explained. "The state must do its best to provide hospital and medical services to the people. The government must guarantee that they will not be denied hospital treatment just because they cannot give an advance payment," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros' bill proposes a 4-6 year imprisonment for erring hospital administrators and officials who demand any deposit or other form of advance payment, as a prerequisite for admission or medical treatment of an emergency patient. In addition, from the current PhP 100,000, Hontiveros' bill seeks to raise the maximum penalty to PhP 1,000,000.

The Senator explained that harsher penalties will ensure compliance, especially if it includes eventual revocation of hospitals' licenses to operate. "Upon three (3) repeated violations committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon instruction of its management, the health facility's license to operate shall be revoked by the Department of Health", includes the bill filed by Hontiveros.

However, Hontiveros was quick to say that her bill provides tax deduction for hospitals that will admit indigent or poor patients in cases of emergency. "I am confident that majority of our hospitals are compliant with the law. We will make sure that their efforts in partnership with government hospitals to help close the public health care gap are duly recognized," she 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.

"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 concluded.

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