Press Release
April 24, 2012

Sen. Pia: Bills on public disclosure of hospital charges, ban
of nurse 'OJT' fees to be tackled at Senate

The Senate Committee on Health and Demography chaired by Senator Pia S. Cayetano will conduct a joint public hearing on several health measures on Tuesday, including bills seeking to require public and private hospitals and healthcare facilities to publicly disclose the cost of their medical services.

Cayetano's committee will also discuss a proposal that would prevent hospitals from charging 'on-the-job' or 'OJT' training fees on registered nurses who render services in these institutions to gain work experience.

Representatives from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP), the Philippine Hospitals Association (PHA), the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Department of Health (DOH) were among those invited to the hearing to share their position on: House Bill No. (HBN) 4308, the proposed 'Healthcare Services Price Disclosure Act,' recently passed by the House of Representatives and subsequently transmitted to the Senate; and Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2632, the proposed 'Hospital Price Disclosure Act,' by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Principally authored by Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo, HBN 4308 requires all healthcare facilities to post a pricelist of their medical services, supplies and incidental expenses. The list will be posted in a conspicuous place within the premises of the facility for the information of their patients and the public. The bill likewise requires hospitals to itemize the medical bill that will be charged to their patients, including the cost of all medical services, supplies and incidental expenses.

On the other hand, Santiago's SBN 2632 requires all private and public healthcare facilities to submit an annual report to the DOH secretary detailing their 25 most frequently performed hospital inpatient procedures, 25 most frequently performed hospital outpatient procedures, and 50 most frequently administered drugs in a hospital inpatient setting, from the previous year, including the average cost for the said procedures and drugs.

The data submitted by the hospitals will then be posted on the official website of the DOH to allow the public to compare the prices being charged by different hospitals for the most commonly availed procedures and administered drugs to patients.

The controversial 'nurses OJT fees' issue will likewise be taken up at the joint panel hearing. Up for discussion is House Bill No.5445, which prohibits public and private hospitals from imposing fees from registered nurses who are serving as nurse volunteers in order to gain work experience in the hospitals and for employment purposes.

Principally authored by Laguna 4th District Representative Edgar San Luis, the measure seeks to impose a prison penalty of six months to one year and a fine of P100,000 to P500,000 against violators of the proposed act.

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