Report hospitals that ask for advance payment: group

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

THE Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) is urging the public to report to the hospitals that demand advance payment as pre-requisite for confinement or medical treatment of patients in emergency situations.

“The SOP (standard operating procedure) for emergency cases is that patients should be stabilized first before they are transferred to the hospitals of their choice. There is a law that prohibits them (hospitals) from requiring a down payment, especially in emergency cases,” said PHAP president Dr. Rustico Jimenez in a press conference yesterday.

“Patients can report to our organization or to the Philippine Hospital Association, and those (hospitals) found guilty will face sanctions,” he said.


Jimenez was referring to Republic Act. No. 8344, a law that prohibits hospitals and medical clinics to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any form of advance payment as a prerequisite for the treatment of a patient in any hospital, or to refuse to provide medical treatment and support as dictated by good practice of medicine to prevent death or permanent disability.

If an individual is proven to have violated the law, he or she could face imprisonment of six months to two years. The director of the hospital will be imprisoned from four to six years if the hospital policy demands deposit.

Jimenez said they have filed sanctions against some hospitals that violated the law.

PHAP has about 700 member private hospitals. 

Jimenez reminded the public of the law that bans hospitals and medical institutions from detaining patients who cannot pay their medical bills. 

But he said this law is only applicable to ward patients.

Republic Act 9439 prohibits the detention of patients in hospitals and medical clinics on grounds of nonpayment of hospital bills or medical expenses.

Any officer or employee of medical institutions violating the law will face an imprisonment of six months and will pay a fine of P50,000.

“Patients who have fully or partially recovered and who already wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are financially incapable to settle, in part or in full, their hospitalization expenses including professional fees and medicines, shall be allowed to leave the hospital, with a right to demand issuance of the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the release of the patient from the hospital upon the execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligation,” the law said.

A promissory note could be secured by either a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who would be jointly liable for the patient’s unpaid medical bill.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2014.

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