President Duterte on Friday signed a law that imposes stricter penalties for medical facilities which will seek deposits or advance payments from patients before treating them in emergency situations.
Republic Act (RA) 10932 strengthens the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by increasing the penalties for the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency or serious cases.
The law takes effect 15 days after being published in a publication with general circulation.
Under Section 1 of RA 10932, it is unlawful for any hospital officers and any medical practitioners to “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment” as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care to any patient.
It also states that the refusal to administer medical treatment, especially to pregnant women who are about to give birth, is unlawful provided that the reason is the inadequacy of medical capabilities.
The medical practitioner may transfer the patient but only with the consent of the next of kin. But if the relative is not present or the patient is unconscious, then the medical practitioner may transfer the patient even without consent.
However, a transfer may only be done after necessary emergency treatment and support have been given to stabilize the patient.
Under RA 10932, any hospital official, medical practitioner, or employee found to have violated this Act will be imprisoned for six months to two years, or fined between P100,000 and P300,000, or both.
However, if such violation was committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon instruction of its management, the director or officer of such institution will be imprisoned for four to six years, or fined between P500,000 or P1 million, or both.