RA 9439 Patient's Illegal Detention Law

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    April 27 of this year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9439 prohibiting illegal detention of patients in hospitals and medical clinics on grounds of non-payment of medical bills or expenses.

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    What can you say about this law? How do you think this will affect the HEALTH of all Filipinos? Do you think this is beneficial or not?

    Comments please.

  2. 12 Comments so far...

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    This will hurt the private hospitals very badly. The association of private hospitals have a tentative plan to not admit patients (they are calling it a 'hospital break') this Friday as a gesture of protest and they said they may do these 'breaks' until their side is heard.

    Only 1 out of 10 patients that signs promissory notes ever come back and these are the patients that the private hospital chose to grant them this privilege. Now, if every Juan and Maria can invoke that they just sign a promissory note because if this new law and they can go and leave the hospital premises w/o paying their dues by coming to a private (for profit) hospital then this will effectively bankrupt the private hospitals. They are not earning to cover their expenses as it is.

    If there is a way for the hospitals to run after those who will be breaking their promissory notes and if there is a way to make them liable or if the Gov't will be the guarantor to make sure they are paid then this law may be doable but there is no way of running and making them liable and there is no guarantor.
    Last edit by lawrence01 on May 28, '07
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    Gloria doesn't know what she's doing. I've learned that she is an economist. All I can say is that she needs to go back to school and start studying from Economics 101. She needs to find out how to alleviate the poverty of the families here in the Philippines coz if there's no poverty, of course people will have enough money..and if there's enough money..hospital bills will be properly paid....BTW, when I was a student, we trained in a 200-300 bed capacity government-owned hospital.The government can't even supply the right gloves and anesthesia.Gloves are re-used in the same procedure and with different patients. Expired anesthesia are used also....these are the things that Gloria needs to attend to rather than signing Republic Act 9439
  5. 0
    i would say this law was rushed without consultation with the hospital associations

    Loryn
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    i don't think private hospitals would bend the rules just because she, as the president, signed a law. what would happen to the hospitals if these people who signed promissory notes would leave and never come back to pay? it's not just the hospitals who would be affected, think of all the people working in rank & file.. if the hospital would go bankrupt then these wage earners would surely be affected as well..
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    with the recent issues surrounding RA 9439, what are your views in implementation of this law while balancing economic concerns with the health care service?
  8. 0
    Yes, I agree with above post that the government must be made guarantor (maybe thru Philhealth???) for those patients who would choose not to come back to pay their bills or those who are not capable of paying at all. In the first place, it's the government's responsibility to provide health care services to the people. With this law, i think the government is sort of "passing the burden" to the private hospitals.

    How then can private hospitals upgrade their services and equipment if their profit is just enough to cover unpaid patients' bills?
  9. 0
    RA 9439 is not at all anti-detention law, one must not lost sight of the fact that before a patient may be permitted to leave the hospital in the event that he doestn have suffiecient money to pay for his hospital bill, the patient or his relative is required to make a promisory notes and execute a mortgage or a guaranty of a co-maker who shall be jointly and severally liable with the bills. Hence, the patient cannot automatically leave the hospital with out complying to said requirements. The trouble of the law is found in its implementing rules and regulation which did not supply the answer of what properties may be mortgage or pledge to answer for the hospital bills in the event there is failure to pay by the patient, or who are the guarantor capacitated to make a guarantee. This are the questions which the implementing rules and regulations of RA 9439 failed to answer. The remedy that i can see there is for the hospital to be strict in accepting promisory notes, to check first the ownership of the property mortgaged or pledges and scrunitize the status capacity of the co-maker so as to balance the right of the hospital to earn profit from rendering medical service to the comminity and to the right of the comminity to proper health care. Until the law is supplied with the needed aswer to the two question mentioned above the noble intention of the framers of the law will be put to naught.
  10. 0
    yes, i agree, RA9439 is not a detention law afterall. indirectly, a patient can be detained due to non-payment of bills. Just like what happened to us at UST hospital. Since our bill reached to more than 400k, we tried to ask if we could at least present a promisory note. We were given a list of requirements stating to settle first at least 75% of the hospital bill, a letter how we are going to pay the hospital, post dated checks or Transfer Certificate of Title. we were asked to come back when the requirements are complete. With this requirements, specially the 75% payment of hospital bill will indirectly detain the patient while the family is trying to complete it.

    What is worse is when we tried to negotiate, they put 1% interest per month on top of the bill and a surcharge of 2k per 50k financial help from PCSO. An interest of 48k for 1 year to pay and a surcharge of 2k means an additional of 50k on top of the hospital bill. They just took away from us the 50K financial assistance from PCSO. in the end, we did not benefited from the financial assistance because of those interest and surcharge and it did not helped us in our financial problem.

    i hope that they would make a law to put a stop on interest on hospital bill whenever the patient or relative will settle with an easy payment plan. In the first place, with the amount on hospital bill, i'm sure there is already a marked-up value to the supplies and service cost, in short they already have profits on the hospital bills and it is not humanitarian to add an additional cost to people or patients with financial problems. If there is a bill putting a stop to additional charges aside from the interest when credit cards are used for purchase, i believe for humanitarian reason a law can also be passed not to put interest on promisory note and surcharges from financial assistance.
  11. 0
    there are lots of patients who are not able to pay their bills in one government hospital here in pangasinan. what the management did was they accepted collateral (cellphones/appliance etc..) or they make an agreement that the patient/relative comes back to do services to the hospital. so far there's a watcher who came back to do the service =p (at least from what i heard)


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