House passes bill
compelling hospitals to display price list
March 28, 2011
QUEZON CITY Ė The
House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill
that seeks to mandate hospitals and other healthcare providers to
clearly display in their premises a full price list of their services
The compulsory posting
of an exact price list under the proposed Healthcare Services Price
Disclosure Act would cover hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers,
diagnostic and laboratory clinics, medical offices and related
facilities, including those providing dental services.
The displayed price
schedule would be binding on the healthcare provider upon the
patientís admission, and any price increase would take effect only
after proper posting.
"The measure gives
more meaning to the State's avowed policy in The Consumer Act to
protect the interests and general welfare of buyers, and to establish
the fair standards of conduct for business and industry," said House
Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo, the billís author.
transparent and readily available price index would safeguard
consumers against misleading and unfair sales acts and practices, said
Romulo, who represents the lone district of Pasig City in Congress.
"This will also
facilitate sound choice by end users of hospitalization and other
healthcare services," he said.
Romulo pointed out
that patients invariably get billed for the flimsiest expense while
being treated in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
He added: "In some
cases, without their prior knowledge, patients even get charged for
the extra cotton balls or toilet paper they use in the hospital."
A complete price list,
to include all incidental charges for room and amenities, meals,
medicines, and use of medical equipment and technology, would enable
patients to compare costs and freely decide where best to obtain the
services or supplies that they need, according to Romulo.
"For instance, once
the patient becomes aware that he could get charged for hospital
toilet paper that is five times more expensive, then he might just opt
to bring his own supply," he said.
Romulo's bill requires
the posting of the price catalogue in a conspicuous place within the
healthcare providerís grounds.
Violators face fines
up to P25,000 per instance, without prejudice to administrative
sanctions such as the suspension of their professional licenses for up
to 60 days.
If the offender is a
firm, it faces a fine up to P50,000 per instance, plus suspension of
its license to operate for up to 60 days. The firm's officers directly
responsible for the infraction also face fines and suspension of their