In the Philippines some hospitals try to hold patients hostage until their bill is fully paid. I know from personal experience. An armed guard at a hospital’s exit scrutinizes your officially paid receipt before you can leave. If you haven’t paid your bill in full, the guard may stop you from leaving. Today’s post, “Philippine Hospitals CANNOT Imprison You for Non-Payment,” explains why this practice is illegal on the part of any hospital.
Philippine Hospitals CANNOT Imprison You for Non-Payment
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9439, effective April 27, 2007, states: “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.”
Therefore, holding a patient because of their inability to pay the bill in full is tantamount to “imprisonment for nonpayment of debt.” This practice is contrary to the Constitution of the Philippines.
The patient can write a promissory note and if they fail to pay, the hospital can then file a civil suit.
(Originally published February 2011)