A bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s law against hospitals and other medical facilities that prevent the discharge of patients and cadavers due to financial incapacity was heard on Monday by the Senate.
Senate Bill No. 166 otherwise known as the Strengthened Anti-hospital Detention Law, authored by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, seeks to impose stiffer penalties against hospitals and clinics that detain live or deceased patients in the event that their families have difficulty settling their hospital bills.
The Senate Committee on Health and Demography, chaired by Senator Bong Go, heard the said measure.
“Ang mga ospital ay dapat nang-gagamot, hindi nagkukulong ng mga tao,” Hontiveros said.
“Sa isang panahon na laganap ang iba’t-ibang uri ng sakit at epidemiya, at kung saan ang ilan sa ating mga ospital ay ginagawa pang mistulang hotel ng mga convicted drug at crime lords para sa kanilang ‘staycation’ mula sa Bilibid, ang mga ospital ay dapat nagbibigay ng pag-asa at lunas, hindi dagdag pasakit at pagdurusa,” Hontiveros added.
Under Hontiveros’s bill, hospitals administrators can now face up to 6 years imprisonment and be fined P 1 million for detaining patients and cadavers due to financial incapacity. The measure can also revoke the licenses of erring hospitals.
Hontiveros said that her bill also seeks to establish an Anti-Hospital Detention Fund to support the payment of indigent patients, and allow unpaid patients to use guarantees from the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance (GSIS) or the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) instead of an actual mortgage or guaranty currently required by law.
“While we understand that costs of hospitals must be covered for continued operations, the rights and liberty of patients are non-negotiable. This is the balance that this bill seeks to achieve,” Hontiveros said.