Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hospitals in the Philippines: Cardinal Santos Medical Center

I always hear a lot about medical tourism and how the government thinks this could be the next big thing for the Philippines. While I have my doubts about the government making this happen, there is no doubt in my mind that the private sector can pull it off.


Doctors in the Philippines are GOOD. There are some really great medical schools here and some really fantastic hospitals. In addition, tons of the doctors have completed their residencies or fellowships at hospitals in the US. The neurosurgeon we have was actually recommended by an orthopedic surgeon from the US (a friend of our designer) that we met at an art exhibition. The nurses are kick ass as well and appear to be less overworked than the US which means if you need a nurse, one actually responds. They are fantastic! Every doctor and nurse that had come in both prior and post surgery was just amazing. I know I sound like a gushing teenager but it is such a switch from the states.

The prices compared to the states cannot even begin to compare. For an eight hour spinal surgery, we were quoted approximately P500,000 (a little over $12,000 before discounts). This includes the surgery, recovery, ICU, private room, medicine, doctors fee, etc. A private room at Cardinal Santos Medical Center (before discount, etc) is P2,200 (a little over $50) per night. The room is pictured above and is a VERY decent size. I realize that $12K sounds like a lot but if you tried to get the same procedure in the states without insurance, you would be declaring bankruptcy.

This is the view of Ortigas from the hospital room. I got a kick out of it because it seems like most of the time hospitals rooms have a view of either a) an air shaft or b) another building.

This photo does not really have to do with anything but I loved that instead of the laundry stamp that is on most hospital sheets, they had the hospital initials in the pattern instead.

Cool items about hospitals in the Philippines: a companion is expected to stay, therefore a comfy companion bed exists (pictured above by the windows), there are fridges in all the rooms, food deliveries are allowed so visitors can dine on just about any food known to man while visiting the patient.

If Cardinal Santos is indicative of medical care in the Philippines then there could be a real future for medical tourism.

18 comments:

Christine said...

It was a two-week wait for the next post, but worth it! How much is a boob job? JK!
I mean a tummy tuck...

Jonnifer said...

Who needs spinal surgery? It's cheaper than the US fo sho. Is there insurance there for poor people?

Amberly said...

Oh, I totally agree with you about the doctors & hospitals here... top notch! We toured a hospital in Alabang that was amazing. Almost made me want to get pregnant & give birth again while living here. Almost, but not!

My husband just surprised me with laser eye surgery for our 10th anniversary, so I will be making an appointment to get that done soon in Manila. It is about half the cost of the same procedure in the states. I CANNOT wait!!

Anonymous said...

yes, hospital care in the philippines is so much cheaper. CMC is one of the better hospitals, but recently hospitals have been greatly upgraded (Makati Medical is building a new wing, Medical City and Asian Medical are awesome). I hope you are right about the medical tourism having a future. Its too bad that a lot of doctors are going back to school to take up nursing so they can move out of the country (US in particular) but probably that's a mix of discontent with both the medical profession and the government.
and yes, a lot of people i know (including balikbayans), get their procedures done here when they visit cause its waaaaay cheaper.
and no, medical insurance is only for those who can afford it. its not a must for everyone when it should be and most get it as part of their benefits when they are employed.
*A new St Lukes hospital is being built at the Fort (near S&R) and they're bragging its going to be one of the most advanced hospitals this side of town.

kikas_head said...

I don't know about plastic surgery but they do have "revirginization" here advertised at a lot of plastic surgery clinics. Odd, mais non?

There is insurance here but I know nothing about it. A lot of people have PhilHealth but I don't really know anything about that either.

Amberly-are you getting your laser surgery at AEI at Rockwell? I was amazed that all (I think--at least the majority) completed a residency or fellowship at Harvard and the prices are still low. Actually I am not sure of the laser prices but the doctor appointments are inexpensive.

Thank god Makati Medical is getting a new wing! The hospital needs renovations BADLY. The doctors there are great but the dark hallways creep me out and I would never want to be confined there.

Anonymous said...

the good thing about Cardinal compared to other progressive and "bigger" hospitals, is that you have a feeling of being home. it is big enough to be one of the foremost medical center but it has this air of coziness..

My mother also had spine surgery but i think we were more lucky to be billited at the 6th floor... its picturesque!! the nurses as well as the doctors were so attentive considering that most nurses were new due to the current "brain drain"

lucky you i think you and my mom had the same neurosurgeon.. i heard that he's considered one of the best in asia if not the world! My mom was pain free... =)

Islasfilipinas said...

Kikias Head, I was very interested to see your post. I'm an American living in the Philippines. I too need spinal surgery. I'd be interested to get more details from you; the type of surgery, the name of the surgeon and any other details. You may contact me at rjh@onepost.net

Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

one of my friends work in Cardinal (as we fondly call it) and the environment is really good. but behind the good service are VERY underpaid staff (including some senior nurses!). what hurts me the most is my friend always render OTY (over time/thank you!) but doesnt get paid for such and to think shes only getting roughly 8 to 9k a month... sadly, nurses from Makati Med who is equally run by the Pangilinan's are getting more than their Cardinal counterparts. i now know why nurses opt to work abroad than serve their own countrymen. i mean, look how dismal their situations are. i even learned that aside from being unemployed, most nurses opt to work at call centers not only because they recieve training in preparation for ielts but also because there are no opportunities for them to experience what its like giving service to the Filipino people... sad... how sad...

Anonymous said...

one of my friends work in Cardinal (as we fondly call it) and the environment is really good. but behind the good (if not best) service are VERY underpaid staff (including some senior nurses!). what hurts me the most is my friend always render OTY (over time/thank you!) but doesnt get paid for such and to think shes only getting roughly 8 to 9k a month... sadly, nurses from Makati Med who is equally run by the Pangilinan's are getting more than their Cardinal counterparts. i now know why nurses opt to work abroad than serve their own countrymen. i mean, look how dismal their situations are. i even learned that aside from being unemployed, most nurses opt to work at call centers not only because they recieve training in preparation for ielts but also because there are no opportunities for them to experience what its like giving service to the Filipino people... sad... how sad...

kikas_head said...

I actually heard for nurses just starting out, Cardinal may pay as low as 6,000 a month. It is worth noting that a lot of people are aware of how little they are paid for such great service and as a result, besides giving them the standard tetra packs and box of goldilocks at the end of a stay, we do tip the nurse out as well. I did not mention it before, because I do not know if it is frowned upon there but my mother in law always takes care of the staff with money as well.

Lilet said...

Hi, I read your blog about CSMC and you said you had a spinal surgery. I am looking for a good neurosurgeon for my mother who is there in the Philippines. She just recently had an MRI and as I deduced, she is going to need a spinal surgery too. Can you tell me who your doctor was and his/her contact and email address if you will? Thanks so much. My email address is chrislet9799@yahoo.com

Lilet

Anonymous said...

we are looking for a pedriatric cardiologist that can help this twin tube babies. where can i send the report of their history?

ana said...

what? seriously??
cardinal overpriced everything we left the hospital with no insurance and had to pay 600,000 pesos just because my mom had a terrible asthma attack. The aircon was so cold and too strong. I hated staying there cuz it was just too cold.

At least the food was good. Not great but good.

Anonymous said...

My wife was treated there with the birth of our first child - It was the worst care I have ever experienced. Beside a horrendous bill in the end, they did not care about mother or child - I have a letter which I wrote to them which was our experience and all I have received was a letter saying we know we have to improve!!!

They overdosed on the Anastetic, left my wife sitting for hours in Urine and did not afford her the simpliest of privacies. On the contrary they opened the doors whide when they changed her after I complaint. The worst was that my wife was in pain while they texted their friends organising their socail calendar - Saty well Clear of this Abertoir!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just as I know many people will wonder if these storeis are true - my email is renoir50@hotmail.com - Please contact me for verification - We really thought the CSMC will be the right place to begin our family - But they are interested in one thing only - Money - The patient is secondary in my opinion

Clairi said...

Philippines doctors are known to be the top notch.. really working hard for the betterment of the country. More over i personally think this is a tough profession but really good one as it helps the people and give them relief from pain.
More over as kika said nurses are paid very low but there job is really tough as they have to help every patient whose attendants are also annoyed. My mom always take care of the staff and scolds me if i don't give them money.
You can also check the various nice hospitals in Philippines at hospitals Philippines

IpodMaxSelle.blogspot.com said...

Hi Kikias head! May I know the name of your Neurosurgeon? I'm looking for second opinion cos i have a spondylolisthesis. I need to have a spinal surgery soon. Could you please email me at selle103175@gmail.com

Thank you...

Anonymous said...

Dr. Eric Legaspi is one of the best neurosurgeon in the Philippines. He is my doctor for my complicated operation in spine. He is my doctor in stt. Lukes erod, pero the operation was done in capitol med for lesser hospital bill. He is also affiliated in pgh.

For 17 days In icu in st. Lukes we pay P1.5m incuding meds and prof fee. This is for my minor operation. I love the services of he docctors here but I HATE the services of their icu nurses (most of them).

I transfer in capitol med for my major operation and stay for more than 3 months. We pay almost P3m. Services of their staff here are not that great bec they are under staff but its ok compare to the other one i've mention. But always double check your everyday bill bec most of the time the medicines they requested in the pharmacy are already added to ur bill eventhough i didnt intake those meds. And the cost of their medicines are so expensive compare to mercury drug. So i suggest buy ur meds outside the hospital, although capitol will charge you for additional 30% for admin fee for the meds u buy outside but its ok coz it is still cheaper.