Deposit or death: Probe sought on hospital policies

Posted at 08/19/14 3:20 PM

MANILA - Senator Nancy Binay has filed a resolution seeking to investigate hospital policies amid the death of a ten-year-old emergency patient who was allegedly refused admission for failing to pay the deposit.

In a statement, Binay said lives are put on the line "when hospitals refuse to admit patients who are critically ill."

"Marami na pong kaso ng mga pasyente na itinataboy dahil walang pang-deposit o hindi dini-discharge hangga’t hindi mabayaran ang bill nila sa ospital. Ang practice po na ito ay hindi tama at may batas ho tayo dito na nagsasaad na hindi maaaring itaboy ng ospital ang mga pasyente na kritikal ang kondisyon," she said.

Tutz Salarda-Chan earlier accused Butuan Doctors Hospital of rejecting her dying 10-year-old daughter, Jannary ''Yanna'' Chan, last July 15 after they failed to pay the P30,000 deposit.

In a Facebook post, Salarda-Chan said they traveled for more than an hour to reach the hospital, only to be rejected because she only had around P10,000 on hand.

Yanna, who suffered from a congenital heart disease, diabetes and kidney problems, eventually died.

The hospital has denied the allegations, claiming they don't have a deposit first policy. The management, however, admitted that they have a policy of requesting a downpayment from patients upon admission to the hospital.

In her statement, Binay cited a provision in the Constitution that says: “The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power of the common good.”

Furthermore, several laws are available to address the needs of healthcare patients, she said.

She cited Republic Act No. 8344, which states: “In emergency or serious cases, it shall by unlawful for any proprietor, president, director, manager or any other officer, and/or medical practitioner of employee of a hospital or medical clinic to request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for confinement or medical treatment of a patient in such hospital or medical clinic or to refuse to administer medical treatment and support as dictated by good practice of medicine to prevent death or permanent disability.”

She also noted R.A. 9439, Section I, which provides: “It shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic in the country to detain or to otherwise cause, directly or indirectly, the detention or patients in the country 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.”

“These are the laws on healthcare in the country and yet, it seems that the Department of Health has been lax in ensuring that hospitals comply. The 1987 Constitution, clearly states that we have to look into cases like the death of this 10-year-old child,” she said.