What You Need To Know About the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
by Anne Marielle Eugenio, April 30, 2020 3:29pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Reports about a woman who died because of childbirth circulated in social media this week. The contributing reason behind the mother’s death: hospitals turned them down—one refused to admit them because the family has no money for the fees. When a medical facility took them in, it was too late.
This is the story of Jan Christian Bulatao’s family, who is now left with his children as his wife, Kathy, passed away due to childbirth. It’s heartbreaking to know this incident could be prevented if not for the down payment a hospital asked of them. But according to the law, refusing such an emergency is illegal.
The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
Back in 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law. It states “in emergency or serious cases, it shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as prerequisite for administering basic emergency care, for confinement or medical treatment, or to refuse to administer medical treatment and support to any patient.”
Simply put, hospitals or medical clinics are not allowed to refuse patients of any medical treatment just because they have no money for down payment.
The Violators’ ‘Payment’
Even though the law was made clear, there are still incidents and Jan Christian’s situation is only one of them. The hospitals who refused to take them are in for consequences. Under this new law, any official, medical practitioner or employee of the medical facility who violates shall be punished by imprisonment or fine, the amount depending on the degree of their violation.
Three repeated violations shall result in the revocation of the health facility’s license to operate by the Department of Health (DOH). In Jan Christian’s case, he could file a complaint against the hospital who refused them medical assistance.
Assistance for the Underprivileged
The Anti-Hospital Deposit Law will not let the underprivileged citizens have their health compromised because of their lack of money for payment. The Law states “the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) shall reimburse the hospital or clinic for the cost of basic emergency care and transportation services given to poor and indigent patients.
Furthermore, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) shall also provide medical assistance for the basic emergency care needs of poor and marginalized groups.
May this law be strictly implemented for the poor to have access to proper health care. Hospitals should not deny people medical services because they are not able to pay advance fees. May this also be a reminder to everyone: each of us can fight for our rights no matter the social status.