Tax deduction for hospitals, clinics providing free emergency services to indigent patients sought

By on February 10, 2016

Philippine General Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the country that caters to indigent patients. (Photo courtesy of Ramiltibayan/Wikipedia)
Philippine General Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the country that caters to indigent patients.
(Photo courtesy of Ramiltibayan/Wikipedia)

MANILA—A lawmaker has filed a bill granting tax deductions to hospitals or medical clinics that will provide health care response to indigent patients in emergency cases.

Rep. Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte (6th District, Quezon City) said House Bill 6341 amends Batas Pambansa 702, otherwise known as “An Act Prohibiting the Demand of Deposits or Advance Payments for the Confinement or Treatment of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics in Certain Cases,” to include tax deduction of expenses incurred in providing emergency health care service to indigent and poor patient of participating healthcare providers.

BP 702 was amended by Republic Act 8344 or “An Act Penalizing the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency or serious cases, amending for the purpose BP702”, outlines the procedure on what a medical facility should do in cases of emergency, defining certain terms related to emergency healthcare, and stated penalties should violations were committed.

Belmonte noted that despite these measures, there are still cases where patients in emergency or serious cases suffer severe loss of blood or, worst, die while being transported to more distant medical facilities.

“Such situations can be remedied if there are nearby private medical facilities that can provide adequate emergency healthcare service without the medical practitioners and owners thinking about the patient’s capacity to pay for such services,” said Belmonte.

“Preservation of human life should remain among the top priorities of the government, as each life saved is another person who will contribute to the betterment of our country,” Belmonte said.

Under the measure, emergency cases shall include condition or state of a woman in active labor, who is already in crowning stage, and the medical faculty shall perform the necessary measures and treatment to ensure that the labor goes well into the separation of baby and placenta.

The measure also defines ‘basic emergency care’ as the response to a situation where there is urgently required medical care and attention, including procedures required for initial diagnosis, use of equipment and supplies in addressing the emergency situation, and other fees incurred at the time of basic emergency response.

Further, if the patient, after receiving basic emergency care services, is to be transferred to another hospital, the barangay where the said hospital or medical clinic is located shall allow free use of its emergency vehicle.

The cost of the basic emergency care incurred shall be tax deductible in favor of the said hospital or medical clinic that has given emergency medical services to the poor and indigent patient.

The Department of Health and the Bureau of Internal Revenue shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulation to carry out the proposed Act.