Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Mercado General Hospital, Inc. From a 12-bed lying-in clinic in Tanauan, Batangas, the company has grown to include operations in Manila, Cebu and Iloilo. Coming soon to Laguna, Quezon City, Bacolod, Bulacan and Cagayan de Oro.
Mercado General Hospital, Inc. (MGHI) had its beginnings in 1957 as a 12-bed lying-in clinic then known as the Mercado Clinic. The founder of MGHI, Dr. Daniel O. Mercado, Jr., after finishing his internship at the Baltimore Casualty Hospital in Washington, D.C. decided to come back to his hometown of Tanauan, Batangas to provide healthcare services to his town mates.
MGHI, which operates under the trade name Daniel Mercado Medical Center, has since grown to become one of the up and coming medical groups in the Philippines. The 12-bed lying-in clinic is now a 100-bed Level 4 tertiary hospital and was one of the first hospitals in the country to be recognized as a Center for Excellence by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). It is currently being expanded to add another 40 beds.
MGHI also owns and operates the University Physicians Medical Center (UPMC) through its subsidiary, Mercado Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Inc. (MASCI). UPMC is the first Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) in the Philippines. It is situated at the Faculty Medical Arts Building (FMAB) inside the UP-PGH Compound in Manila. It opened in September, 2010 and despite its start-up status was able to reach profitability by November, 2011. Its medical staff complement is composed solely of faculty members of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.
On November 11, 2011, MGHI entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a group of doctors in Iloilo City under the banner of Panay Medical Ventures, Inc. (PMVI) to establish a specialty hospital in Iloilo City. The agreement calls for MGHI to acquire a majority interest in PMVI which will operate the hospital under the trade name UPMC – Iloilo. UPMC – Iloilo will be an ASC with an attached 40-bed facility. It will provide a much-needed infusion of advanced healthcare delivery services for its trade area which not includes the city of Iloilo but also the entire island of Panay. Plans also incorporate the eventual expansion of the facility into a 250-bed hospital. On February 7, 2012, PMVI began negotiations with Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) whereby ALI will prospectively lease the land upon which UPMC-Iloilo will be built as well as build the facility itself. Groundbreaking is scheduled for April, 2012 with UPMC-Iloilo expected to open its doors in 2013.
The DMMC Institute of Health Sciences (DMMC-IHS) is a tertiary-level institution offering degrees in allied healthcare professions. It was set up and its purpose remains to provide MGHI and its healthcare institutions with a steady supply of medical and non-medical professionals. This is a critical task particularly in light of periodic shortages of medical professionals in the areas of medical technology, radiologic technology and biomed.
The 5-year strategic plan
With the completion of its previous 5-year strategic plan in 2011, MGHI crafted a new strategic 5-year plan encompassing the years 2012 to 2016. The plan maps out the areas of healthcare where it aims to expand and compete in, the resources and other requirements necessary to meet the goals as identified and the specific metrics by which success or failure will be judged.
MGHI understands its core competence to be the delivery of healthcare services across various platforms in the most cost-effective way possible. It aims to leverage this competence into the reduction of healthcare delivery costs in the Philippine healthcare industry.
Plan for expansion
MGHI’s plan for expanding its businesses is two-fold. The first is by replicating the ASC model in other areas of Metro Manila and in key urban centers in the Philippines. The second is by acquiring underperforming hospitals outside Metro Manila. On top of this, MGHI will continue to push for organic growth within its existing facilities.
Most of MGHI’s operational systems and methods have been codified for easy replication in the operation and management of medical facilities. It has partnered with a healthcare information systems company to develop a hospital information management system which has been customized for MGHI’s needs.
MGHI is also examining other opportunities and platforms where it can leverage its competencies in healthcare management operational systems. This includes entering into operation and management (O & M) contracts with existing medical institutions. MGHI is also exploring the potential of entering Public-Private Partnerships with both national government institutions and local government units involved in public healthcare delivery services.
The 5-year strategic plan also incorporates a significant effort to push organizational development within the group. A core group of senior managers has already completed the re-alignment of the company’s mission to meet the enhanced plans of MGHI. The intent is to develop and cascade down an organizational culture which promotes the sense of ownership among employees across the various subsidiaries of MGHI.
The company is aware that to be able to meet its goals and fulfill its mission, it has to secure “buy-in” from members of the organization. This organizational development initiative is now in its second phase with the involvement of middle managers and supervisors. MGHI is working with Guthrie-Jensen, the human resources consulting firm, to design and implement this program.
MGHI prides itself as a doctor-driven and professionally managed company. These qualities are the qualities by which MGHI stands by in its quest to make quality healthcare accessible to more and more Filipinos.
by Rafael C. Bundoc, MD
Professor of Anatomy, UP College of Medicine
Spine Specialist, Department of Orthopedics,
Philippine General Hospital
Ten Outstanding Young Men Award for Medicine, 1996
Most Outstanding Young Scientist Award, 2000
Percutaneous Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy (PLED) and Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) are surgical procedures that treat spinal problems such as herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease and pinched nerve or nerve root compression. Symptoms range from leg pain usually felt as “ngalay”- heaviness, “kinukuryente”- radiating, “hinihilat”- tense, “pinupulikat”- claudication. This is oftentimes also related to weakness of the legs and inability to walk. This is medically called “sciatica”. PLED and TLIF are minimally-invasive surgical techniques that provide an alternative to the traditional “open” surgery.
The open surgery technique requires a big incision at the middle of the back where the surgeon cuts the back ligaments, strips the muscle from the spine and cuts bones from the spine. This invariably destroys too many normal tissues just to correct the problem deep inside the spine. Patients are then faced with a long recovery period of several weeks or months. High hospitalization cost and loss of income due to longer hospital confinement are indirect consequences to them.
Many patients also develop weakness of thin trunk muscle because the back musculature fails to regenerate or heal properly due to the big incision.
On the other hand, minimally-invasive surgical techniques require only “small incisions” on the back. PLED involves localizing the herniated disc by MRI and placing a very small diameter scope precisely to where the problem is. Very small instruments are passed thru the scope to safely remove the disc herniation with the aid of high definition video and intra-operative image intensifiers. The herniated disc is practically removed without damaging any normal tissues.
While in the TLIF procedure, a part of the degenerative bone and disc are removed and replaced with composite grafts and reinforced with titanium screws and rods to connect nerve impingement and even spine deformities.
These minimally-invasive procedures greatly minimize blood loss, muscle and tissue trauma. Patients are benefitted with reduced postoperative narcotic use and faster recovery time of 2-3 hours. This in turn indirectly cuts medical cost not only for hospital confinement, but also allows the patients to get back to their work and normal routine faster.
UPMC in its Ambulatory Surgical Center at the UP-PGH FMAB established the first “Center for Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery” in the country. UPMC likewise performs arthroscopic, endoscopic, and laparoscopic surgeries and other minimally-invasive procedures like cataract extraction .
Recently, UPMC-FMAB shared in bringing 2 surgical milestones in the Philippines for performing the very first PLED surgery and for performing the very first TLIF surgery on an out-patient basis.
Together with Dr. Bundoc, the other members of the team are Drs. Dave Dizon and Samuel Gozman (Spine Surgeons) and Dr. Dominic Villa (Anesthesiologist).*
*The members of the team hold clinic at the UPM-PGH Faculty Medical Arts Building (FMAB), PGH Compound, Taft Avenue, Manila.
Spine surgery is one of the services offered by the Orthopedics Practice Group at FMAB.
The managers’ meeting was held at 2 pm. This was presided over by FIFA and AFC Match Commissioner Dave Penano. The teams were briefed on the various areas of the preparation which included security, marketing, tickets and medical arrangements. among others. The match commissioner with the assistance then inspected the respective kits of both teams.
Practice at Panaad was at 4 pm. The team from Guam immediately followed. After seeing both teams there is guarded optimism about our chances.
Dinner was again at the hotel.
Various supporters started streaming into Bacolod from all over the country. This include a strong contingent of Kaholeros from
Manila who will be joining their counterparts from the rest of the country to continue their tradition of being the booster squad for the Azkals.
Gates will open tomorrow at 5 pm. Stadium lock-down procedures will be around noon time. Teams arrive 90 minutes before the match. Kick-off is at 7 pm.
Bacolod City, Philippines – We arrived yesterday in Bacolod City. The team arrived in two flights – the early morning and early afternoon flights from Manila. The bulk of the team arrived on the afternoon flight and was met by a band composed of drummers perched on the back of this truck.
Most of the staff took separate vans to the hotel while the team took a rented Ceres bus. The slow drive from the Bacolod International Airport in Silay meant that it took the team over an hour to finally get to the hotel. No rest for the weary, however, as the team quickly boarded the bus again for their first practice at the Panaad Stadium after checking in and organizing their equipment.
The pitch looks ready but Phil and James noted that the lights seemed a little too bright. This was more due to the positioning of these which were a little low thus blinding players in certain parts of the pitch. The organizers said that they would try to adjust the lights so that this would not be the case during match day. Otherwise, getting to high balls particularly for the goalkeepers might be a little challenging.
A couple of notable items during practice – the team sang Happy Birthday for Team Manager Dan Palami. There was an attempt to pour a cooler full of water and ice on Dan but he was able to avoid it – barely.
After practice, the team headed back for a quick shower and change before heading off for dinner. Dinner was hosted by Philippine Olympic Committee Chairman and FIFA TV and Media Committee Member Monico Puentevella. A long day ended just before midnight when the team arrived back at the hotel.
Today began with a team breakfast. Around 11 am, we all went to the Dugout Bar and Restaurant to watch the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. We arrived early enough to catch the last quarter of the Boston – Miami game. For some reason, the satellite feed conked out and we missed the fifth and sixth rounds. As the fight wore on, there became a growing sense of foreboding that this was somehow going to be very close. When the decision was announced, there was not much outrage at the decision although Chieffy adamantly remained convinced that Pacquiao won.
Back at the hotel, a press conference was held for the match. Attending the session were Coach Michael, Phil, James and Bacolod LOC Chairman Junie Lizares. Coach Weiss bared some details of the preparations for the Suzuki Cup at the end of the year which will include a trip to the United States in August. A local reporter tried to force Phil and James to say that Panaad was better than Rizal which the two tried to gamely avoid. Eventually this persistent reporter got an answer that he may not totally have been expecting which was that on balance the brothers said the conditions are slightly better in Rizal due to the better grass (bermuda vs carabao) and lighting (lower, thus nakakasilaw, at Panaad) but also mentioned that crowd support in both stadiums was equally great. They ended by saying they like going to Bacolod.
I hope we end this Panaad vs Rizal thing. The team likes to play in both places. The country needs more pitches and having both is a blessing. The team would like to play international matches in other areas in the country and if the facilities are there and the logistics work out, they will.
Around 3 pm about a third of the team went to the Robinsons Place in Bacolod to do an autograph session at the Puma store at the mall. Entry into and exit from the mall was via the fire exit to minimize the chances of the players being mobbed. From the mall, this group of players and some staff proceeded to Panaad for the 5:30 pm practice.
Tomorrow will be rest day. Access for fans to the hotel will be limited to allow the players to get some rest.