BAGUIO CITY – The city council on Monday approved on third reading the Baguio Patients’ Rights Ordinance which spells out the privileges of persons availing of medical care services in the city.
Authored by Councilor Edgar Avila, Ordinance No. 42 series of 2017 “aims to equalize the contractual relationship between a patient and his health care provider by stating the rights of patients.”
It also “defines the duties and responsibilities of patients and those of health care providers and the health care delivery organization.”
“The observance of these rights and responsibilities will enhance the health care professional-patient relationship and lead to a more effective patient care and greater satisfaction for the patient, the health care professional and the health care delivery institutions and entities. Hence, adherence to patient’s rights is a vital factor for the fulfillment of the primary purpose of medicine – the prevention and treatment of diseases and the maintenance of the health of patients,” the ordinance reads.
Under the ordinance, the following are rights of the patients along with their brief explanations:
“Right to Medical Care and Treatment – Every person has a right to health and medical care corresponding to his state of health, without any discrimination and within the limits of the resources available for health and medical care at the relevant time;
“Right to Informed Consent – The patient has a right to a clear explanation, in layperson’s term, of all proposed procedures, whether diagnostic or therapeutic, including the identity of the person who will perform the said procedure, possibilities of any risk of mortality or serious side effects, problems related to recuperation, and probability of success, and he will not be subjected to any procedure without his informed consent; Provided, That in cases of emergency, when the patient is unconscious and/or incapable of giving consent and there is no one who can give consent in his behalf, then the health care professional can perform any diagnostic or treatment procedure as good practice of medicine dictates without such consent; Provided, further, That when the law makes it compulsory for everyone to submit to a procedure, a consent is not necessary;
“Right of Privacy – The patient has a right to be left alone when this will not prejudice the provision of necessary medical care. The patient has a right to be free from unwarranted publicity, except in the following cases: (a) when his mental or physical condition is in controversy and the appropriate court in its discretion orders him to submit to a physical or mental examination by a health care professional; (b) when public health and safety so demand; and (c) when the patient waives this right;
“Right to Information – The patient, next of kin or immediate family has a right to a clear, complete, and accurate evaluation of the nature and extent of his disease, the contemplated medical and surgical procedure and its probable outcome, economic costs, impact on lifestyle and work including side-effects and after-effects of the treatment, possible complications and other pertinent facts regarding his illness. However, if the disclosure of information to the patient will cause mental suffering and further impair his health, or cause the patient not to submit to medically necessary treatment, such disclosure may be withheld or deferred to some future opportune time; Provided, That his next of kin shall be consulted and given the relevant information.
“Right of Privileged Communication – The patient has the right to demand that all information, communication and records pertaining to his care be treated as confidential. A physician is not authorized to divulge any information to a third party who has no concern with the care and welfare of the patient, except: a) when such disclosure will benefit public health and safety; b) when it is in the interest of justice; and c) when the patient waives the confidential nature of such information;
“Right to Choose his Physician – The patient is free to choose the health care professional to serve him except when (a) seeks medical treatment in a government hospital; (b) he is confined in a charity ward; and (c) he has entered into a contract with a health maintenance organization or any other health insurance organization which stipulates that the patient can only be served by a health care professional affiliated with the organization;
“Right to Self-Determination – The patient has the right to refuse diagnostic and treatment procedures; Provided, That (a) he is of legal age and of sound mind; (b) he is informed of the medical consequences of his refusal; (c) he releases those involved in his care from any obligation relative to the consequences of his decision; and (d) his refusal will not jeopardize public health and safety;
“Right to Religious Belief – The patient has the right to refuse medical treatment which may be contrary to his religious beliefs, subject to the limitations described in the preceding Subsection; Provided, That such a right shall not be imposed by parents upon their children who have not reached the age of legal discretion;
“Right to Medical Records – The patient is entitled to a summary of his medical history and condition which shall be accomplished by the attending health care professional. He has the right to view the contents of his medical record upon consultation with his attending physician. At his expense and within a reasonable period of time, he may obtain from the health care institution a reproduction of the same record, whether or not he has fully settled his financial obligations with the health care professional or institution concerned;
“Right to Leave – The patient has the right to leave a hospital or any other health care institution regardless of his physical condition;
“Right to Refuse Participation in Medical Research – The patient has the right to be advised if the health care provider plans to involve him in medical research, including but not limited to human experimentation that may affect his care or treatment. Such human experimentation may be performed only with the written informed consent of the patient;
“Right to Correspondence and to Receive Visitors – The patient has the right to communicate with relatives and other persons and to receive visitors subject to reasonable limits prescribed by the rules and regulations of the health care institution;
“Right to Express Grievances – The patient has the right to express complaints and grievances about the care and services received. The Baguio City Health Services Officer, in consultation with the Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region, health care providers, consumer groups and other concerned agencies, shall establish a grievance system wherein patients may seek redress of their grievances. Such a system shall afford all parties concerned with the opportunity to settle amicably all grievances; and
“Right to be informed of his Rights and Obligations as a Patient – Every person has the right to be informed of his rights and obligations as a patient. The Baguio City Health Services Office in coordination with the department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), health care providers, professional and civic groups, the media, health insurance corporations, people’s organizations, local government units, and other government agencies and non-governmental organizations, shall launch and sustain a citywide information and education campaign to make known to people their rights as patients, as declared in this Ordinance.
“It shall be the duty of health care institutions to inform patients of their rights as well as of the institution’s rules and regulations that apply to the conduct of the patient while in the care of such an institution,” the ordinance mandates.
Violators will face sanctions of fines ranging from P2,000 to P5,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than six months or both.
Administrative sanctions, including the suspension or revocation of the violator’s license to practice his profession, shall be imposed in addition to the penalties provided.
The implementing rules and regulation will be framed by the Baguio City Health Services Office, in consultation with the local chapters of the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine Hospital Association, concerned private agencies, non-governmental organizations and people’s organizations within 180 days from the effectivity of the ordinance. /Aileen P. Refuerzo