View Full Version : Health and Wellness Industry (Medical Tourism)
February 8th, 2011, 05:10 PM
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February 12th, 2011, 12:48 PM
PH needs to invest in medical facilities to gain medical tourism foothold
CEBU CITY, Feb. 12 (PNA) -- The Philippines, particularly Cebu, needs to invest and improve its medical facilities to gain a strong foothold in becoming a medical tourism site, medical practitioners said.
Dr. Mario Victor Villardo, an interventional cardiologist of the Philippine Heart Center and Capitol Medical Center, noted that the country’s promotion of medical tourism is both a government and private-led initiative.
But, he said hospitals in the country should continue on investing and upgrading their medical facilities.
He said improving facilities and bringing in new technologies would surely lure more tourists to come to the country for medication.
He said the country has big potential to become a preferred medical site over other countries like Thailand.
He said hospitals in Manila have already earned international accreditation while others are still in the process of application.
In Cebu, only Chong Hua Hospital has gotten an international accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), an international agency that sets international standards and evaluates facilities based on the quality and safety of patient care.
Dr. Michael Jeremy Tabaloc said they are hoping that more hospitals in Cebu will have international accreditation because this would help Cebu gain a strong foothold in its promotion as a medical and vacation destination.
Dr. Tabaloc is an interventional cardiologist of Cebu-based hospitals Chong Hua Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, a state-run hospital.
Villardo and Tabaloc recently gave a briefing on coronary angioplasty, a technique used to open clogged arteries of the heart.
Tabaloc said that the procedure that usually involves a balloon catheter and stent coil being inserted into the artery has now improved involving drug-eluting stents that release medication that prevents artery from re-clogging.
Tabaloc said the procedure, which is non-invasive and non-surgical, has typically a lower cost than bypass surgery and with no recuperation period.
Tabaloc said angioplasty treatments are already being performed in Chong Hua Hospital, Perpetual Soccour Hospital and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.
Richard Wong of B. Braun Medical Supplies said the breakthrough technology is designed to provide alternative options for those suffering with heart problems. http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&nid=7&rid=329353
February 16th, 2011, 08:05 AM
^^ Oh ayan everything is going up including our Philhealth contribution... hay...
Ona wants Philhealth dues hiked to 3.5% :ohno:
Manila Standard Today
February 15, 2011
HEALTH Secretary Enrique Ona on Monday recommended increasing the employees’ contribution to Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to 3.5 percent of their salaries from 2.5 percent now to expand the company’s insurance coverage.
The increase would help Philhealth subsidize its poor members and make its coverage universal, Ona told the technical working group of the Senate’s committee on health and demography.
“Besides, health care should be significantly higher than housing,” Ona said in comparing members’ contributions to Philhealth against their contributions to the government’s Pag-IBIG housing program.
Ona said the increase in premium payments would apply only to Philhealth members earning P25,000 a year and not to bus and jeepney drivers, mom-and-pop store owners and the self-employed.
Philhealth’s members now consist of 318,853 private employees, 14,776 government employees, and 3.62 million individually paying members.
Their contributions range from P50 for those receiving P4,999.99 and below and as much as P375 for those receiving P 30,000 and above.
At the same hearing, former Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez Jr. criticized an attempt by the government to exclude the insurance coverage of women delivering their fifth and subsequent babies.
“This is anti-poor,” Romualdez said. It was the poorer members of society who traditionally had more children and the ones who had a higher child mortality rate. Rey T. Salita
February 16th, 2011, 08:34 AM
^^ dapat nga gawing optional yan :| tapos ang lakas ng loob nila mamimigay ng card sa mga taong hindi naman nagkocontribute.
February 17th, 2011, 12:19 PM
Recto hits PhilHealth claim of bankruptcy :bash:
SunStar Manila, Philippines
Thursday, February 17, 2011
MANILA -- Senator Ralph Recto on Thursday scored the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for claiming that using its P110 billion in retained earnings will leave its coffers empty.
“That's a big joke,” he remarked, adding there is no way that PhilHealth will go bankrupt given how much money it has in reserve.
He said PhilHealth should use its retained earnings instead of raising premiums deducted from the salaries of its members.
“They will increase the members’ contributions when they have more than enough funds to expand coverage and subsidize low-income workers.”
Instead of using its own funds, PhilHealth wants to raise premium contributions from the current 2.5 percent of a member's salary to 3.5 percent. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)
March 4th, 2011, 08:49 AM
SSS considers increase in members' contributions :ohno:
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 04, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Social Security System (SSS), the state-owned pension fund for private employees, is planning to raise this year its contribution rate to 11 percent of a worker’s monthly salary credit (MSC) from the existing 10.4 percent, its top official told The STAR.
In a recent interview, SSS president and chief executive officer Emilio de Quiros Jr. said that an increase in the contribution rate would also mean higher benefits for members.
“We want to make SSS benefits more meaningful. If you want to increase your benefits, you have to increase your contributions. Right now, the contribution rate is only 10.4 percent. We’re looking at increasing the rate to 11 percent,” he said.
The higher contribution rate would be split between the employer and the employees, he pointed out.
He said the increase is minimal and would help ensure more benefits for members when they retire.
This is among the plans and programs which de Quiros plans to put in place during his term.
The last time the SSS raised its contribution rate was in January 2007, shared by both employer and employee.
Aside from raising the contribution rate, De Quiros said SSS also plans to increase the amount of the maximum MSC to more than the prevailing ceiling of P15,000.
At present, the minimum and maximum MSC brackets are P1,000 and P15,000, respectively.
“We’re planning to increase this to P20,000,” De Quiros said.
He said the increases are meant to improve the benefits received by members.
Benefits include different retirement benefits. A monthly pension is applicable to SSS members who have contributed for at least 120 months, has 60 years old and is not in gainful employment or self-employment or those who have reached 65 years old.
SSS retirees also receive 13th month pension and dependents’ pension for each minor child who is no more than 21 years old conceived prior to retirement, but not exceeding five. Those who are of retirement age but not qualified for pension benefits are given a lump-sum amount equal to total contributions paid plus interest earned.
Members are also entitled to disability benefits. A monthly pension is provided in the case of permanent total disability for members who have at least 36 monthly contributions.
April 29th, 2011, 07:37 AM
May 5th, 2011, 01:55 AM
Interesting medical tourism website >> (http://healthino.com/)
June 3rd, 2011, 06:00 PM
New deluxe medical-IT plaza–raising the bar on outpatient care
There will be interpreters and concierge service to help foreign patients, says Century Properties chair José Antonio
By: Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:13 am | Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
A 28-STORY, 500-room medical-IT building is set to rise on Kalayaan Avenue, Makati by 2014. To Century Properties chair José Antonio, that’s not enough despite the presence of other tertiary hospitals in the area.
“Any economist that looks at the Philippines says we have statistics to die for. Our population is 95 million. By 2015, we’ll be 100 million. Don’t you think that’s a lot of health care needed?”
He adds, “Seventy percent of illnesses are treated on outpatient basis. Because of this, there’s a need for people who want to be checked up, diagnosed and treated outside hospitals. People are afraid of infections in hospitals.”
Antonio paints the scenario: Medical tourism is expanding in neighboring countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. Last year, the Philippines posted tourism revenues of $25.3 million, 60 percent of which were provided by foreigners.
He adds that 5.7 million Americans underwent liposuction last year.
“Instead of spending for their lipo there, which is not included in the health-care benefit, they can do it here for a third of the cost, including airfare. The balance can be used in Boracay.”
An optimist, he cites the growing middle class composed of OFWs who leave the country poor and come back with a car, a house and a job. There are other economic indicators such as the car sales and new malls that reflect the Filipinos’ purchasing power, as well as health-care cards that make medicine more affordable.
“The country will be moving up along with the basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter and health care,” he says. “We just don’t put up a building. There has to be a demand. Many balikbayans come here for dental or cosmetic procedures or to have their glasses made. As long as there’s a base population that needs health care, then there’s a demand.”
Centuria Medical Plaza is Century Properties’ fourth medical arts building. Although Antonio began with residential buildings, he saw the growing need for medical buildings to provide doctors spaces for clinics. Centuria’s predecessors are the Medical Plaza in Makati and Ortigas and the Medical Arts Building of Asian Hospital.
Asked how these buildings made a difference, Antonio replies, “It afforded doctors who could not practice in hospitals to have their own clinic. There were pockets of clinics all over Metro Manila but not a single building where all doctors could participate. In Centuria, the difference is that it is also a diagnostic center. No need to hop from one building to another. Back then, we just sold clinics. Now we are adding common equipment used by doctors. We put the IT backbone,” he explains.
Centuria is meant as an outpatient facility.
“No heart transplants or infant deliveries but we will have a fertility clinic,” he says. “Nowadays, dialysis centers look like spas. This going to be world-class.”
Centuria has tied up with General Electric Philippines, Inc. and its subsidiary GE Healthcare, a top provider of medical technology and healthcare information.
“Medical records are electronically filed. Even patients abroad can access their files. In the past, you’d bring the X-Ray to the doctor. Now it can be downloaded. Even abroad, you need the records for reimbursement and insurance. If you digitize, no need to carry the papers; they’re available online with privacy,” he says.
The building will be composed of clinics specializing in different disciplines of medicine including alternative medicine; floors devoted to diagnostic equipment and services; rooms for aesthetic procedures; recovery suites; restaurants; a VIP elevator; and units for other service providers in health, wellness and preventive medicine.
The clinics are 30-sq m modular units designed to make the patient feel at ease.
“Don’t you feel good entering a clinic without filing cabinets? We will be digitalizing the records. Looking at the IT requirements, we have to be ultra-modern so that the international perception of us being ‘barriotic’ will be removed. Why would a BPO like JP Morgan do business here? Why not also do it for medicine?” says Antonio.
The businessman adds that patients will be provided with doctors’ profiles.
“We intend to communicate to the public their credentials through our website.”
Centuria will exude the ambience of a deluxe hotel, he says, with interpreters and concierge service to help foreign patients.
“The government should give a 30-day visa for medical tourism patients. We will have a travel office where they can renew their documents, so there’s no need to queue at the Department of Foreign Affairs.”
On Centuria as his pet project, Antonio explains, “I feel the Philippines is missing its chance to be a major player. We can’t get our act together. This is our way of helping the country to position itself. We have the ingredients to compete against our neighbors. We have good doctors and nurses, but our facilities are wanting. That is why we are putting this world-class facility in partnership with GE.”
Antonio admits he’s envious of Thailand because of its international perception that the medical facilities there are more advanced. The country has been bullish about promoting its medical tourism worldwide.
“Thailand set up offices abroad and drove patients to their country,” he says.
Similarly, Singapore is enjoying a proliferation of outpatient medical buildings. Antonio laments the Philippines’ lack of facilities and network to bring in more tourists.
“We have the potential: low costs and experience. Our doctors and nurses are recruited worldwide. Why are there not enough international patients in Manila? We have not marketed the country as a whole. Despite the tourism promotions, we must improve the product. The Philippines must be accessible.”
Although Centuria targets the foreign market, Antonio points out the strong local base. Makati’s daytime population swells to three million.
“How many need a check-up? There’s a lot. All we need is 300 to 500 patients a day and our doctors will be busy,” he says.
Antonio doesn’t believe that Centuria would compete with other hospitals.
“I’m just creating a platform by which doctors can practice good medicine in an environment that promotes efficiency and good experience for the patients. It will raise the bar,” he says.
June 16th, 2011, 08:42 AM
St. Luke’s offers water birthing
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 21:31 Roderick L. Abad
THE Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig inaugurated on Wednesday its birthing suites —two hotel-like rooms for natural delivery and another one for water birthing.
“Water birth is a very old method of child delivery, but in the Philippines, this is the first hospital that has been so broad-minded and forward-looking enough to set up this facility,” Dr. Rebecca Singson-Zahar, St. Luke’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology director, said in an interview. “It’s mainly for simulating the natural birthing experience in a safe environment.”
Water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water that offers many benefits to both mothers and babies.
According to Dr. Singson-Zahar, this method of delivery is “very gentle and not so traumatic:” a mother delivers her baby from an amniotic fluid environment in her womb to a water environment in a tub, without
anesthesia and intravenous opioids, or drugs that are used in the conventional way of giving birth.
She added that water birthing is an effective form of pain management during labor because the water helps relax the perineum or the region of the abdomen surrounding the urogenital and anal openings, and stimulates the release of oxytocin hormones that promote contraction of the uterus.
“This really gives back the control of childbirth to the mother because we have so mechanized giving birth,” the director said; her personal experience of giving birth through the water, she said, led her to push the hospital to have such a facility.
“I’m really grateful that St. Luke’s is that kind of an institution that looks into the possibilities and makes them happen.”
During the process of water birth, women may opt to labor in the water and get out for delivery, or may choose to stay there until the baby is delivered.
Citing numerous studies on water birth, Dr. Singson-Zahar noted the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2009, which says that there is evidence that water birthing alleviates pain for the laboring mother and there is no evidence of an increased mortality or morbidity for the mother undergoing water birthing or the baby delivered through water.
“In fact, there are researchers that show that there is even less ICU [intensive care unit] admissions for the baby who is delivered by water birthing, compared with dry birth,” she stressed. “So it is a very safe modality of delivery. And for women who are very empowered, it just brings up the level to another notch.”
The practice of water birth is very popular in Western countries, in Switzerland, in particular, where 40 percent of women deliver through this method. In the Philippines, however, it’s not as popular, according to Dr. Singson-Zahar.
But given the pioneering effort of St. Luke’s to put up the first water-birth facility in the country, Dr. Singson-Zahar expects that “we will level up the standard of childbirth in the country—that more obstetricians will embrace the concept of natural childbirth, if not water birthing. We expect that more women will try to deliver as naturally as possible. I’m certain that other institutions and hospitals will try to duplicate this setup, because there will be a growing demand for it as more women experience this awesome childbirth experience. I think it will spread exponentially.”
In Photo: Dr. Joven R. Cuanang, St. Luke’s chief medical offi cer and senior vice president for medical affairs, and Dr. Rebecca Singzon-Zahar, head of the hospital’s Department of Obstetrics and Genecology, pose for a photo at the launching of St. Luke’s birthing suites at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. (Nonoy Lacza)
June 19th, 2011, 04:07 PM
Health exec to pupils: Beware of junk food, magic sugar
A Health official has appealed anew to schoolchildren to avoid junk food and items containing Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), an ingredient that may have potential harmful effects on health.
National Epidemiology Center head Dr. Eric Tayag also reminded children to be wary of "palamig" (drinks) sold by ambulant vendors that may contain "magic sugar."
Tayag said the Department of Health wants to make sure schoolchildren are safe from food items containing the potentially harmful ingredients, radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported.
On the other hand, he urged parents to cook nutritious "baon" for their children so they need not buy junk food or palamig from vendors outside the school.
DEHP is a plasticizer that may have potential harmful effects on the reproductive system.
Philippine health authorities ordered the pullout of at least 66 food products from Taiwan believed to be tainted with DEHP.
Meanwhile, "magic sugar" is an artificial sweetener that may cause health risks such as cancer, and whose immediate symptoms include discomfort and dizziness.
As early as August 2000, the then Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) issued an advisory that magic sugar is prohibited “due to evidence of its carcinogenicity in animals."
“Neotogen or magic sugar is not registered with the BFAD. As such, the importation, distribution or sale of the product is illegal and subject to sanctions and penalties stipulated in the Foods, Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics Act," it said.