By Genalyn Kabiling
Hospitals will be held liable if they refuse to provide initial medical treatment of patients just because they cannot pay a deposit, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque cautioned that erring hospitals may face the penalty of fine and imprisonment under the Republic Act No. 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.
Roque made the remarks after a woman died last week after reportedly failing to get treatment from six hospitals.
“Mayroon tayong Republic Act No. 10932. Ito po ‘yung Anti-Hospital Deposit Law na nagpapataw ng parusa sa lahat ng mga hospital na hindi tatanggap ng pasyente dahil hindi sila makapagbigay ng deposito (We have Republic Act No. 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law that imposes penalties for hospitals that refuse patients because they cannot give a deposit),” he said during a virtual press conference.
Roque said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has given an assurance that authorities are investigating the hospitals who reportedly turned away the woman in need of medical help. He said cases will be filed against the hospitals if found to have violated the country’s laws.
Under RA 10932, Roque noted that there is presumption of liability against the hospital or medical practitioner involved in the event of death, permanent disability, serious impairment of the health condition of a patient proceeding from the denial of admission to the health facility.
“Iimbestigahan ang kasong ito at kung kinakailangan, sasampahan sila ng kaso sa hukuman sa gayon mapatawan sila ng parusa. Ang parusa sa violation ng Anti-Hospital Deposit Law meron po ‘yang kulong (The case will be investigated and if needed, cases will be filed in court so they can be slapped with penalties. The penalty for violation of the Anti-hospital Deposit law is imprisonment),” he said.
“Ikukulong po natin lahat, ‘yung mga doktor, may ari ng ospital na naging dahilan kaya namatay itong pasyenteng ito (We will send to jail the doctors, owners of hospitals who caused the death of this patient),” eh said.
Guevarra earlier directed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the death of Kathy Bulatao who was reportedly turned away by hospitals.
Bulatao was reportedly in need of medical attention after giving birth inside her home in Caloocan City. The victim’s husband brought her to some hospitals but was denied assistance. One hospital allegedly asked for a downpayment prior to treatment.
In 2017, President Duterte signed RA 10932 that raises the penalty for hospitals that demand deposit or advance payments for confinement or treatment of patients.
Violators of the law may face prison time of six months to two years and four months, a fine of P100,000 to P300,000, or both. If the violation was committed due to the hospital policy or instruction of its management, the hospital director or official shall be suffer imprisonment of four to six years, a fine between P500,000 and P1 million, or both.