MANILA, Aug. 7 — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday said she sees no reason for hospitals to question the legality of the recently signed strengthened anti-deposit law since it would benefit the poor and save lives.
“Why do they need to question it before the Supreme Court if they follow the law?” Hontiveros said in a press conference following reports that hospital groups plan to question the legality of the newly-signed law.
She said she found it unreasonable for hospital groups to argue about it when a patient’s life is at stake especially since doctors have pledged to “do no harm.”
The neophyte senator, meanwhile, expressed confidence that if the legality of the law is questioned, she is confident that the Supreme Court will be on her side.
“I am confident that the Supreme Court will be on our side. Several sectors have also expressed support for this law,” she added.
On August 4, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10932 or the Strengthened Anti-Hospital Deposit Law which raises penalties for hospitals and health professionals who refuse to treat patients in emergency situations.
The law, authored by Hontiveros, now includes imprisonment of up to four to six years for hospitals who demand any deposit or other forms of advance payment as a pre-requisite for admission or medical treatment of an emergency patient.
Fines have also been increased to reflect the strengthening of the regulation. Hospitals that refuse to provide emergency patients with basic care face penalties ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP1,000,000.
The Department of Health (DoH) has also been authorized to revoke the license of a health facility after three repeated violations pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon the instruction of its management.