A Catholic hospital in Taitung might have to return nearly NT$100 million (US$3 million) in donations it has collected because of possible violations of the law, a Ministry of the Interior official said.
An official from the ministry’s Department of Social Affairs said on Friday that the Medical Treatment Act (醫療法) stipulates that medical institutions are not allowed to solicit donations.
“If the donation account is designated as a hospital, then the money will have to be returned,” the official said.
If the hospital is soliciting the money as a non-profit organization, it will have to apply to the ministry to gain permission to ask for donations and alert donors of the name change. If donors do not agree with the name change, the money will have to be returned.
The official made the remarks after St Mary’s Hospital in Taitung City launched a campaign to collect “NT$10,000 donations from 3,000 donors” and raise the more than NT$31 million it needed to transform itself into a non-profit organization by November.
The hospital said it would have to shut down if it failed to reach the target, but it collected NT$98 million in just 10 days from donors that included President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-cheng (鄺麗貞).
St Mary’s Hospital, built by the Catholic Church Hualien diocese half a century ago, was the first hospital in Taitung with a 30-bed professional maternity ward. In the past, half of the county’s children were born in the hospital.