New Guam hospital will reduce referrals to Philippines - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

New Guam hospital will reduce referrals to Philippines

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The upcoming launch of the new Guam Regional Medical Center is expected to result in a big dip in the number of patient referrals to the Philippines.

More than 200 local residents travel to Manila each month for specialized care not available in Guam. But hospital officials there are bracing for a slow-down. "We are realistic," stated Marilen Tronqued-Lagniton. "We understand we may lose patients that come to Guam. But our commitment is that for as long as patients come to us whether its 100,000 or 1, we are ready and committed to provide that patient with the best care possible."

According to one local health insurer, about 90% of the estimated 250 monthly referrals are treated at Saint Luke's. Tronqued-Lagniton, the senior vice president for marketing, says in the past year they've seen a 15% increase in patients from Guam, adding, "The short answer to that question is, yes, the patients are still coming, and the numbers are rising."

And while Saint Luke's expects to lose Guam patients to the new hospital, it might gain patients from elsewhere through a new medical tourism campaign launched just over a year ago. Tronqued-Lagniton added, "I think that, as the world, as many countries in the world are looking for healthcare outside their own countries, for a variety of reasons, whether it's cost or for quality of care. I think we have a really great opportunity to let the world know about the Philippines and let the world know about the really high quality of care that's available in the Philippines."

Saint Luke's officials were on Guam this week for a medical forum on cancer.

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