Treatment in the time of COVID-19
Asian Hospital and Medical Center faces the challenges of Covid-19 head on
How does treatment look in the time of corona?
By Coni Tejada
Published November 20, 2020
Covid-19 knows no race, gender, or tax bracket. Unfortunately, healthcare in the country is not as egalitarian. But Andres Licaros Jr., president and chief executive officer of Asian Hospital and Medical Center, says that their tertiary hospital is bent on finding ways to take care of even the most vulnerable. A constant recipient since 2013 of the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission International Accreditation, the premium service Asian Hospital gives to its patients is known to come with a hefty charge.
“There’s coverage by PhilHealth. There are also Asian Hospital charities. And if patients can’t pay, the doctors are waving their fees. So I cannot, in the heart of me, insist that the hospital doesn’t match it,” explains Licaros.
“And there was never a patient who wanted it to be completely free. They’d go ‘Sir, really, this is all we can afford to pay.’”
Andres Licaros Jr., president and chief executive officer of Asian Hospital and Medical Center
Building relationships in a Covid-19 world
Partners are absolutely vital during this pandemic. “Meralco is a critical partner for us,” says Licaros who hooked Asian Hospital to Meralco’s power lines after being named president and CEO in the end of 2011.
“When we acquired Asian, we were getting dirty power. According to Ricky Buencamino, former Meralco Senior Vice President and Head for Networks – he is a director of mine for three years now – the power always trips. It is going to hurt my very expensive equipment. Power is an important utility. For us, because it’s Meralco, I know I am guaranteed a reliable supply.”
And Meralco continues to secure Asian Hospital’s power requirements even prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Support from Meralco subsidiary, MServ, has also been secured for emergency works like 24x7 response team, availability of generator sets for rent, supply of equipment and replacement parts, for load side troubles.
But common troubles were absent at Asian Hospital in March. No shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), medicines, and ventilators here. The virus, instead, went for its most valuable asset. The hospital lost one of its emergency room doctors to Covid-19 back in April and numerous nurses have left their posts. When assigned to Covid floors, they were urged by their families to resign.
The Asian Hospital and Medical Center teamed up with Meralco's subsdiary, MServ, for its power requirements.
This 2019 Asia's Best Employer Brands Awardee runs a particular program called Extreme Life Incident Team or E.L.I.T.E which aims to care for their employees’ mental health. Started by Dr. Ben Vista, the hospital’s Department Chair in Psychiatry, employees were trained to provide support for co-workers who were going through mental and emotional stress. What started in 2016, has served as a lifeline to many and proved to be essential during this time of ceaseless trauma
As Covid-19 has disrupted and dramatically changed everyday life, Asian Hospital is making great strides to keep up.
Asian Hospital is retrofitting and expanding its emergency room. Since a number of small hospitals south of Metro Manila has closed down, the hospital is getting ready to serve a bigger community.
They are also hiring new nursing graduates, so they could train them to work in special units like the Emergency Department, Critical Care Units, and the dedicated Covid-19 floors.
But more importantly, Asian Hospital has gone digital. This has made engagements safer and far reaching. “We have launched our e-consult platform as early as May,” proudly says Licaros. “People have been wanting to go to hospitals but doctors are more cautious. We have people consulting our doctors all the way from Siargao, Cotabato. There’s a Filipina patient who works in Singapore. The borders are not a limit anymore.”
Physical boundaries are now not an issue with Asian Hospital also providing ambulatory care. “Now, we do homecare service. We extract blood, do swab. We deliver medicines.” Licaros explains that this step is meant to serve the needs of the community as it is to keep the business going.
“The economy is already down. If you don’t have a healthy population, how can we rise out of this whole thing? It’s really important for ourselves to embrace the reality and help each other.”
To learn more, contact your Meralco Relationship Manager or call 16210.
Story originally posted on Power Club.