Baby held over unpaid bill; DOH asks hospital to explain

By: Cathrine Gonzales - Reporter / @cgonzalesINQ - Inquirer.net | February 18,2022 - 05:52 PM
Baby. Inquirer.net stock photo

INQUIRER.net stock photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is asking the management of a hospital in Metro Manila to explain why it refused to release a 10-month-old baby over an unpaid bill amounting to P1.1 million.

In a Palace press briefing Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed that this incident happened and that they have helped in the discharge of the baby to the family.

Vergeire did not name the involved hospital and the DOH has not released a copy of the letter to the media as of posting time.

“Ito po talaga ay nangyari. Sumulat po ang DOH, nakipag-usap at nakipagtulungan with the family para madischarge ang pasyente,” she said.

(This really happened. The DOH wrote to the hospital and helped the family so that the patient will be discharged.)

“But the family now has to commit na babayaran nila eventually through tranches o kung paano ang pag-uusap with the hospital ang kanila pong naiwan na hospital bill… Ang bill po ng ating pamilya na ating tinulungan ay P1.1 million,” she added.

(But the family has to commit that they will eventually pay the bill through tranches or whatever arrangement they will have with the hospital… The bill of the family we helped has amounted to P1.1 million.)

Vergeire then stressed that hospitals should not detain patients because they were unable to pay for their bills.

“That is part of the mandate of the DOH as part of our regulatory mandates. Meron po tayong batas, ‘yung anti-hospital detention law kung saan wala pong hospital ang may karapatan na mag-detain ng kahit na sinumang individual na hindi makakabayad nang buo sa kanilang hospital bill,” she explained.

(This is part of the mandate of the DOH as part of our regulatory mandates. We have the anti-hospital detention law where hospitals are not allowed to detain any individual who will not be able to fully pay their hospital bills.)

“So kailangan po ang ating mga hospital ay magkaroon ng pakikipag-usap sa mga pasyente kung paano mababayaran, maybe through promissory notes and other mechanisms, pero bawal po na dine-detain natin ang ating mga pasyente,” she added.

(So the hospitals should have a discussion with the patient on how the bill could be paid, maybe through promissory notes and other mechanisms, but they are not allowed to detain patients.)

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TAGS: 10-month-old baby, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, hospital, unpaid bill amounting to P1.1 million

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