House bill seeks higher penalties for violators of Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
High-ranking officials of hospitals and clinics found in violation of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act should pay a fine worth at least P5 million, according to a proposed measure filed at the House of Representatives.
Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City, Eric Yap of Benguet, Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo and and Jeffrey Soriano of ACT-CIS party-list, and Ralph Tulfo of Quezon City made the proposal under their House Bill 3046.
The bill seeks to amend the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act that currently carries an imprisonment of four to six years, a fine of P500,000 to P1 million or both, on directors or officers of hospitals or clinics responsible for implementing policies or instructions that violate the law.
Also under the current law, hospital employees or medical practitioners found guilty of violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law face a fine worth P100,000 to P300,000 and/or imprisonment of six months to two years.
“The current set of penalties imposed under Republic Act 10932 (Anti-Hospital Deposit Law) on erring employees and officials of medical facilities should be increased further as there is still a significant number of reports of hospitals violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law,” the lawmakers said.
“The [Anti-Hospital Deposit Law] asserts the right of an individual to be admitted to any hospital and be given basic emergency care without being asked to hand over an advance payment outright. This is in consonance with the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take, pledging to help the sick to the best of their ability and knowledge. Hence, hospitals, in general, are duty bound to provide care and treatment to those who are injured or suffering,” they added.
Under House Bill 3046, the hospital or clinic director or officer responsible will be penalized with imprisonment of six to 12 years and/or fined P2 million to P5 million, provided that the courts find that the violation was committed as a result of the medical facility’s established policy or upon instructions of its management.
HB 3046 also allows the filing of administrative cases against erring hospital employees and officials with the corresponding penalty of suspension, cancellation, or revocation of their professional licenses.
This is on top of the revocation of the medical facility’s license to operate by the Department of Health after three repeated violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law arising from an established policy or instructions of its management.
Under the bill, the president, chairman, board of directors or trustees, and other officers will also be held liable for damages the court may award to the patient-complainant.
Aside from higher penalties, also included in the lawmakers’ proposed amendment is the establishment of a Department of Health (DOH)-administered national hotline where people can report erring hospital and clinic personnel. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA Integrated News