Yap pushes for stiffer fines against anti-hospital deposit lawbreakers
Benguet Rep. Eric Go Yap chats with a resident during his visit to the Benguet General Hospital. Yap, together with Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City, Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo, and Jeffrey Soriano of ACT-CIS party list, and Ralph Tulfo of Quezon City recently foiled a bill on Congress seeking higher fines against violators of Anti-Hospital Deposit Act. (Office of Cong. Eric Go Yap photo)
Violators of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act are asked to pay a stiffer fine worth at least P5 million, according to a proposed measure filed at the House of Representatives.
Benguet Representative Eric Go Yap, in a proposed measure, 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.
The proposed House Bill 3046 was also co–authored by Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City, Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo, and Jeffrey Soriano of ACT-CIS party list, and Ralph Tulfo of Quezon City.
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.
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.
“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.
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 including 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.
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, 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. ### (PR)