Alleged violation of anti-hospital deposit law in Ilocos probed

DAGUPAN CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) is investigating 77 hospitals in Region 1 (Ilocos) due to alleged violation of anti-hospital deposit and detention laws.

DOH Assistant Secretary Charade Mercado Grande of the Health Regulation Team said most of these hospitals have been filed with cases in the previous year.

“We are aiming to solve these cases within six months upon filing complaint,” she said on Wednesday.

Under Republic Act 10932, otherwise known as the anti-hospital deposit law, advance and/or deposit payments are strictly prohibited for patients who are treated or confined due to emergency and other serious cases.

This also includes the non-issuance of medical services due to lack of advance payment, which could result in the patient’s disability or death.

RA 9439, or the anti-hospital detention law, prohibits the detention of a patient –either well or dead– who either failed to pay in advance or entirely pay his medical bills and expenses.

Under the law, patients are allowed to be released from hospitals or medical clinics provided that they were able to sign or write a promissory note.

“The promissory note may be in (the) form of mortgage or a co-maker guarantee, to which they could also be liable if the patient neglects his obligation,” Grande said.

The DOH clarified the laws do not apply to patients using a private room.

Meanwhile, Grande has advised the public against buying medicines online as the agency cannot guarantee the safety and quality of medicines bought from online shops, especially when the seller is not registered with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

She said online shops should only be used to book orders, and pharmacies should personally hand over the ordered medicines to the customers.

“If we found out that there were violations, we will make a report,” Grande said during the DOH fourth quarter media forum held here.

She said online sellers must coordinate with the FDA to avoid penalties and jail time. Ahikam Pasion / PNA –