Unlawful for hospital to detain patients who cannot pay
"I want to seek for your advice regarding the situation of my uncle. He has been in the hospital for almost two months. He was rushed there early part of May because he was complaining about pain in his abdomen. There were gallstones found in him doctors took them out. He recovered after two weeks. When my aunt informed the hospital that they wanted to go home, the hospital insisted that they settle their bill first. My aunt told the liaison officer in the billing section that she can only pay for half of the amount and negotiated to pay the other half of the bill in installments. But she was denied. Is there anything that they can do? Every day they spend in the hospital only adds up to their financial obligation. I hope you can advice us on this matter. Thank you and more power.
Tin TinDear Tin Tin,
It is undeniable that your aunt and uncle are obliged to pay for the financial costs of your uncle’s hospitalization. Since they were able to secure the services of the hospital and its doctors, it is only but proper for them to settle their medical expenses. However, the doctors and officers of the hospital cannot deny your uncle from being discharged if he stayed in a non-private room and has already recovered from his illness. You are correct in saying that, chances are, their hospital expenses will only escalate if they continue to stay in the hospital. Accordingly, they may invoke the provisions of Republic Act No. 9439, otherwise known as the Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Nonpayment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses. It is clearly stated under Section 1 thereof that, “It shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic in the country to detain or to otherwise cause, directly or indirectly, the detention of patients 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.”You mentioned in your letter that your aunt is willing to pay half of the amount of your uncle’s hospital expenses and the rest will be paid in installments. We believe that this may be done provided that she will execute a promissory note stating therein the particular dates when the installment payment will be made. Furthermore, the promissory note which she will execute must be secured by either a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker, who will be jointly and severally liable with your uncle for the said unpaid obligation (Section 2, id).
Your uncle or your aunt, in behalf of your uncle, may likewise opt to file a petition for habeas corpus before the Regional Trial Court of the place where the hospital is located. Such remedy is available in cases of illegal confinement or detention whereby a person is unlawfully deprived of his liberty (Section 1, Rule 102, Revised Rules of Court). If it is proven in court that your uncle is indeed illegally detained by the officers of the hospital, his release may then be ordered by the court.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org."
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"Unlawful for hospital to detain patients who cannot pay"
was written by Mary
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comments. The article was created on 15 September 2021
and updated on 15 September 2021