Note: This article was posted in the Phil Daily Inquirer website.
By Juliet Labog-Javellana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:08:00 01/16/2010
MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was set to lead at 10 a.m. Saturday the inauguration of the second branch of her favorite hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City, which sits on 1.6 hectares along 32nd Street at The Fort in Taguig City.
Should she be confined for her usual medical checkup, at the hospital, the President will enjoy all the comforts of home, not to mention the privacy of a P50,000-a-day presidential suite, which is six times the size of a private room and has its own Jacuzzi.
If she wants to elude the media as she is wont to do, she can drop in unannounced using the hospital’s new feature—a helipad.
The new hospital opened its doors Saturday and boasts state-of-the-art medical equipment, and yes, four-levels of parking enough to accommodate 1,200 cars.
Three times bigger than St. Luke’s QC (Quezon City), the P9.5-billion new hospital has 629 patients’ rooms, some 400 doctors’ clinics, the expertise of more than 500 doctors and its touted brand of personalized customer care.
Despite the economic recession, the opening of St. Luke’s GC (Global City) could not have happened at a better time, according to SLMC president and CEO Jose F.G. Ledesma. It offers another topnotch medical facility to Filipinos and foreign medical tourists.
Some 2,500 new employees were hired to staff the new hospital which also gave new business to a host of suppliers and concessionaires. Together with St. Luke’s QC, Ledesma said the two hospitals have around 7,000 personnel not counting the doctors.
St Luke’s GC’s 14-story main building houses the hospital facilities, including the emergency, operating and delivery rooms, as well as the patients’ rooms accessible by six big elevators.
Patients walk through a revolving door and enter a tastefully decorated lobby with a black marble floor, a comfortable sitting area and even a piano bar. It also has centralized air-conditioning.
A bridgeway connects the hospital facilities and the 11-story Medical Arts building which houses the doctors’ clinics, most of which are still under construction. There are shopping and dining areas in the complex.
Those who have experienced the nightmare of parking at St. Luke’s QC have something to look forward to—the promise of four levels of basement parking with some 1,200 slots.
Ledesma said the two St. Luke’s hospitals offer the same high standard of service and the latest medical equipment—including the PET-CT scanner, 3 Tesla MRI and the 256-slice CT scanner.
“In terms of standards, we now have two hospitals which are equally first-rate,” he said. “We’ve been saying that St. Luke’s QC is better equipped than 95 percent of hospitals in the United States, so now there will be two hospitals in the Philippines which are better equipped than most of hospitals in the US.”
As for doctors, Ledesma said the new St. Luke’s has the widest range of specializations. Its roster includes doctors not only from St. Luke’s QC but from other hospitals in Metro Manila.
“We continue to nurture the combined expertise of both local and foreign-trained physicians to give our patients topnotch medical care. And these physicians have the technology which helps them come up with earlier and more accurate diagnosis of patients. At the same time, these tools and technology give them the opportunity to treat their patients more effectively,” he said.
24-hour concierge service
Marilen Lagniton, vice president for customer relations for both hospitals, said St. Luke’s also takes pride in its customer care service. She said it is the only hospital that offers 24-hour concierge service for its patients. Relatives can call from anywhere in the world and have errands done for their confined patients.
Patients who go for an executive checkup would have customer care officers assigned to them.
Lagniton said the Wellness Center at the new hospital is a one-stop shop, where all procedures for executive checkups are done at the center instead of going to the main hospital’s facilities.
She said diagnostic fees are the same as St. Luke’s QC but room rates at St. Luke’s GC are slightly higher because they are bigger.
Rooms cost from P3,500 (private) a day to P50,000 for the presidential suite. Wards cost P1,500 a day.
Sporting different color schemes per floor, the patients’ private rooms are equipped with modern hospital beds, LCD TV sets, Bose sound system, spacious shower rooms and a safe. Suites are equipped with computers and Wi-Fi.
Most expensive room
The most expensive room is the 157-square-meter presidential suite on the 16th floor. Not only does it have a commanding view of The Fort, it has a living room, a dining room with an 8-seater table, a pantry, an extra guest room which can accommodate two beds and a Jacuzzi.
CT scan rooms will take your breath away. The ceiling features a pleasant scenery and relaxing music is played while the patient undergoes the exam.
Dr. Rommel Cariño, the heart surgeon who saved the President’s husband Jose Miguel Arroyo from a life-threatening heart surgery in April 2007, led a team of surgeons in conducting a simulation of the main operating rooms.
“The operating rooms are just the right size and we have all the equipment,” Cariño said.
All patients welcome
Dr. Jonnel Lim, head of surgery, gave the Inquirer a tour of the operating rooms and the OB-Gyne complex which has four birthing rooms for patients who wish to deliver the natural way.
Dr. Ryan Mirano said the new hospital also has a bigger emergency room.
Being a top hospital, Ledesma said St. Luke’s GC will probably have its share of controversial patients.
“Being the country’s leader in the healthcare industry, we expect patients from every class and political spectrum … We welcome every patient. We do not choose our patients. The patients choose us. We expect both saints and sinners,” he said.