Albert Francis E. Domingo, MD

my flight of ideas

Squaring Off: The Hospital Detention Law

Posted on | May 30, 2007 | No Comments

I just came home from guesting on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)’s debate program, Square Off.

The proposition: Resolved, that Republic Act 9439 (Hospital Detention Law) should be repealed.

A backgrounder: Last April, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) signed into law RA 9439 also known as “An act prohibiting the detention of patients in hospitals and medical clinics on grounds of nonpayment of hospital bills or medical expenses”, or the Hospital Detention Law for short.

It prohibits hospitals or clinics from detaining charity patients who have recovered (or corpses) but still have financial obligations or unpaid bills. It allows for these poor patients/families of deceased indigents to execute promisory notes in lieu of payment, for the former to be released from the hospital.

The Private Hospital Association of the Philippines (PHAP) is strongly against the law and is calling for its repeal, citing financial losses that private hospitals will allegedly sustain due to charity patients freely leaving the hospital without payment in cash.

For the program, I chose to side with the negative to the proposition. The proposition being to repeal the above law, my position thus translated to being pro-charity patient, anti-private hospital as far as detaining patients is concerned.

Want full details? Please watch Square Off‘s replays of the episode on any of the following: Thursday (May 31), 1:00 pm; Saturday (June 2), 7:00 am or 2:00 pm; and Sunday (June 3) 1:00 am. I sparred words with Niko Tuazon, an incoming 4th year BS Computer Science student at DLSU-Taft.

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