Press Release
September 3, 2007


"I strongly urge Malacañang to avert the hospital holiday crisis. With the latest calls of private hospitals to stage a hospital holiday, this raises grave concerns over the welfare of patients and especially those elderly and critical ill, as to what is to happen to them if hospitals go on holiday. We must find them a middle ground, a win-win solution that addresses the legitimate concerns of the private hospitals and the urgent medical care needed especially by indigent patients. We need to remind hospital administration of private hospitals, that to detain those who are unable to pay their bills and in the charity ward especially, is stipulated in the law. Also it is clear in the Revised Penal Code that it is illegal to detain patients even in the charity ward.

We need to balance the interests of the hospitals, who at the end of day are businesses after all; and the patients and their families, especially those indigent who need specialized medical help, which a government hospital might not be able to provide. Part, if not all, of the hospital bills of indigent patients, may be allowed as a deductible expense for the hospital, or even the doctor who waives his professional fee for as long as the patient's case is certified by a government agency, such as DSWD for example. Patients released from hospitals must be required only to execute promissory notes in favor of the government, in the amount equivalent to the hospitals'.

Perhaps the Executive could consider some of these already existing legal guidelines to pressure the Executive to avert the hospital holiday crisis at the soonest possible time. This is critical and it would be a disaster if this is not averted. Families and patients are counting on the Legislature to mediate for their plight, but we must stress to hospitals that their financial stability and ability to survive is also important, but not at the risk of human life. "

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