The practice of demanding deposits before treating emergency cases in medical clinics or public and privately-run hospitals will soon be over following the signing into law of a stronger anti-hospital deposit act by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Republic Act 10932 or "An Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law" aims to put a stop to the practice, especially among private health facilities who turn away patients, even during emergency cases, unless they are able to pay a deposit.

The revised law stipulates that it shall be unlawful to request, solicit, demand, or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as prerequisite for administering basic emergency care to any patient.

However, should the necessary treatment be outside of the medical establishment's capacity, the physician could request the transfer of the patient to another, more capable health facility after consent has been secured.

The new law likewise dictates that patients for transfer should be provided with the free use of the health facility's emergency vehicle. If there is no available transport vehicle, the local government unit could instead provide the service.

Further, all hospitals are directed to post a list of medical services they can provide at the establishment's entrance, including their classification level according to the Department of Health.

State-run insurer, Philhealth and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office are both involved in the law's implementation. It states that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation shall reimburse the hospital or clinic for the cost of basic emergency care and transportation services given to poor and indigent patients.

Meanwhile, the PCSO is directed to provide medical assistance for indigent patients.

Hospital or medical clinic personnel who violate the law could face from 6 months to 2 years and 4 months of imprisonment, and/or a fine of Php100,000 to Php300,000.

Should a patient be turned away because of a policy of the establishment or by order of the management, it is the establishment director that will face imprisonment of 4 to 6 years, or a fine of Php500,000 to Php1 million.

The Department of Health, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Philhealth are tasked to work on the law's Implementing Rules and Regulations. MIMS

Read more: