Medical City, a hospital in the Philippines, recently opened an office on Guam - a move to entice more local residents to its Manila facility. The PI has been a longtime destination for local patients who require complicated procedures and specialized services that aren't provided here on island.
Medical City Guam communications director Dondi Quintans told KUAM News, "Guam has always been so limited and is really unaware of the other services that can be done in Manila." The hospital's local office is aimed at providing patients with help in planning off-island medical trips, with Quintans saying, "To help facilitate and alleviate the stresses that can come about with going to a foreign country especially the Philippines, such as trying to find accommodations and transportation and all that on top of finding the right doctors, the right procedures and getting price quotes."
Medical city accepts most major on-island HMOs, including GovGuam's SelectCare plan. The new GovGuam plan allows for travel to the states for medical services but, as GovGuam human resources administrator Cecilia Martinez explains, the three-hour trip to the Philippines is still a popular option. "Our employees and our dependants and our retirees they would rather go to the Philippines. It's closer it's a lot cheaper for them to rent hotel rooms and the culture there is very similar to our culture on Guam," she explained.
The new office sheds light on the larger issue of Guam's limited medical services. Local lawmakers and physicians have been working together to change that. Last month, Senator Eddie Calvo and Dr. Vince Akimoto hosted a teleconference with both local and off-island doctors and medical students to brainstorm ideas on how to entice medical professionals to Guam. If Guam can successfully expand its medical offerings, the opportunities are immense, especially considering the impending military buildup.
However, as the opening of Medical City's local office shows, the demand for services in the Philippines will continue as long as local patients can't get those services here.
by Janjeera Hail