by Aye P Ubaldo
Let’s talk numbers with The Medical City. This premier health facility has 1000 expert physicians, servicing 40,000 in-patients, and 400,000 outpatients a year. Founded in 1967, it is 3 years shy of a golden anniversary. For 37 years, The Medical City was next door to the Lourdes School, and in the last decade it’s a stone’s throw away from Meralco.
Recently, it celebrated a debut, of sorts. That is 18 years of The Medical City Clinic Network, with 30 clinics under its belt, in 26 sites.
For nearly 2 decades now, TMCC has been extending its expertise to reach more patients in need through its 30 satellite clinics spread through key areas in the Metro and its suburbs. When The Medical City Clinic started in 1996 in Antipolo, its expansion from 1997 to 2003 of digitally connected hubs strategically positioned in convergence zones were mostly in malls. Imagine going to Ali Mall in the heart of Cubao, or SM City right smack in the center of Sta. Mesa, to avail of world-class health and medical facilities. It’s now possible with The Medical City Clinics (TMCC).
Behind this massive endeavor is its CEO and President, Dr. Alfredo Bengzon. The former Secretary of the Department of Health, Dr. Bengzon is not alien to the fact that health is a priority.
“What is the importance of health? What is the meaning of life when you are not healthy? Health defines quality of life and pace of development (of the people). In many Filipino communities health is only a partial reality at best, and most of the time it is an illusion. The Medical City embraced ways where they can make health a full living vibrant reality. That is the reason for our being as an organization. Using the lessons learned we have had some successes, but the challenges remain huge,” says Dr. Bengzon.
Where other Philippine hospitals have stand-alone facilities, The Medical City offers a network of tertiary and secondary hospitals, and clinics that provide healthcare services in an ambulatory setting. So, whatever records one patient has in the main hospital is easily accessible through TMCC network enabling its satellite expert physicians to seamlessly reach the best diagnoses, and dispense the right treatment.
At the heart of the network’s expansion is a sincere desire to promote and enable better health care. Into the next 18 years, TMCC is committed to continue to bring quality medical service closer to the people. Services have expanded to address patients’ changing needs to include ophthalmology, minor surgery, dialysis, CT scan, mammogram, among others. New clinic formats were introduced to cater to growing segments of the market such as the Lifestyle and Wellness Clinic at Timog Avenue in Quezon City which offer lifestyle interventions and diabetes care to include diabetes screening, nutrition counseling, diagnostic services, and Endocrinologist and Nephrologist consultation.
All these encourage families to make that shift from the hospital to the closest The Medical City Clinic as their partner in holistic and preventive family health care. In January 2015 the network will open The Medical City-Clark to reach patients in Central and Northern Luzon.
“This is the era of ambulatory healthcare. This is the era of The Medical City Clinics,” states Dr. Bengzon.
Beyond lamenting how health is taken for granted, TMC is all out to address the situation. “We need to change the way we think and behave. Health is our right, but also responsibility. We cannot achieve much if we are not health. Most people are a step too late when attending to their health. This is sad because most diseases are preventable. We need to change mindset, and our heartset,” Dr. Bengzon adds.
Fast approaching its golden year, The Medical City is heavy on investing. To be on top of the game in the current sceneario investment in infrastructure and technology is invaluable, something that the hospital is not taking for granted. On another level, Dr. Bengzon could not stress enough how critical investment must be placed on patient partnership, as well as values-formation.
“It is not just on IT, or facilities, but investment is on the people. The TMC doctor everywhere is all about the care he gives to his patients. The TMC doctor is his brother’s keeper,” says Dr. Bengzon.