Press Release
July 8, 2019


As one of her priority proposed measures in the 18th Congress, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a bill to strengthen the current Anti-Hospital Detention Law. Hontiveros authored the bill in response to the numerous complaints of patients and cadavers being barred from discharging because of financial incapability.

"Hospitals are health sanctuaries, not prisons. Ang mga ospital ay lugar-gamutan, hindi kulungan. While we understand that costs of hospitals must be covered for continued operations, the top priority should be the people's health," Hontiveros said.

Under Senate Bill No. 166, hospital administrators can now face up to 6 years imprisonment and be fined P 1 million for detaining live or deceased patients. Hospitals, clinics and administrators can have their licenses revoked for repeated offenses. According to Hontiveros, other than the increase in penalties, an Anti-Hospital Detention Fund under the law will be established to help support indigent patients.

"Financial status should not be an obstacle to pursuing their fundamental right to health. The measure will serve as a mechanism to protect Filipino patients and their families and to help ease the burden of medical expenses to avoid financial traps that could lead to greater economic problems," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros also explained that promissory notes from the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance (GSIS) or the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) can be presented to the hospital as official guarantees of fulfillment of financial obligations to the hospital. The Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) will also provide a guarantee letter for indigent patients.

In the 17th Congress, Hontiveros was the principal author and sponsor of the Strengthened Anti-hospital Deposit Law. Under the new law, stricter penalties would be served to hospitals who would refuse treatment of emergency case patients because of a lack of money. Penalties now include 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.

"We will build on the success of the passage of the Strengthened Anti-hospital Deposit Law. The logical next step is to strengthen the current Anti-hospital Detention Law," Hontiveros said.

News Latest News Feed