Strengthened Anti-Hospital Detention Bill proposed.
Senator of the Philippines, Risa Hontiveros is pushing for more severe penalties
for hospitals and clinics that do not allow their patients to leave or to be
discharge unless the hospital or clinic bill is paid.
According to the good Senator, Hospitals and clinics are a place of treatment and
not a detention facilities and prisons.
Her strengthened anti-hospital detention bill offers additional mechanisms and
support for patients.
The proposed legislation when passed will also increase fines and penalties for
abusive hospitals, clinics and similar facilities and will expand coverage to
patients admitted in private rooms.
The strengthened anti-hospital detention bill is intended to make strong the
provisions of RA 9439 otherwise known as “An Act Prohibiting The Detention Of
Patients In Hospitals And Medical Clinics On Grounds Of Non Payment Of Hospital Bills
Or Medical Expenses”.
The Salient features of RA 9439 are the following:
It shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic in the country to detain
patients who have fully or partially recovered or have been adequately attended to
or who may have died, for reasons of nonpayment in part or in full of hospital
bills or medical expenses.
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 or medical clinic, with a right to demand the issuance of
the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent papers required for the
release of the patient from the hospital or medical clinic upon the execution of a
promissory note covering the unpaid obligation.
The promissory note shall be secured by either a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who will be jointly and severally liable with the patient for the unpaid obligation. In the case of a deceased patient, the corresponding death certificate and other documents required for interment and other purposes shall be released to any of his surviving relatives requesting for the same.
Patients who stayed in private rooms shall not be covered by RA 9439.
Any officer or employee of the hospital or medical clinic responsible for releasing patients, who violate the provisions of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not less than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), but not more than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), or imprisonment of not less than one month, but not more than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court.