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Medical City’s tourism business doubling every year

By Albert D. Castro [ ] June 14, 2010

Health and wellness company Professional Services, Inc., owner of tertiary hospital The Medical City, is confident it can replicate the robust performance of its medical tourism business this year.
Visits from overseas patients have been growing geometrically, since the company started offering its services overseas in 2005, Margarita A. Bengzon, head of Professional Services strategic services group, said.
"(Right now) it is good. It was a little bit slower in the beginning of the year because people are a little bit concerned about traveling because of the global flu pandemic but I believe in the second half it will improve," said Bengzon.
She said overseas patients are mostly Filipinos in Micronesia, particularly Guam.
"We continue to promote Medical City by attending conferences abroad, and marketing Medical City to corporate accounts. Most of our patients are coming from Guam, Micronesia and also Filipino tourists," she said.
"Growth is geometric. Our patients from Micronesia continue to be strong... But it is expected because we started from none," she said.
Growth has been doubling every year since the launching of the company’s overseas marketing drive, she said.
Foreigners comprise about 8 percent of the total patients that enroll in Medical City’s medical tourism service.
They are primarily enrolled in the hospital’s Wellness Program, a one-stop shop for health maintenance and promotion as well as cardio-vascular and cancer treatments, Bengzon said.
Medical City also includes dermatology, aesthetic and plastic surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, dental services, and travel medicine in the primary service it offers. Its package includes ambulatory service from the airport and back.
Hospital president Dr. Alfredo R.A. Bengzon said he expects regenerative medicine to soon become a major attraction for medical tourism.
About 6 percent or P200 million of the company’s P3.38 billion revenue last year was contributed by medical tourism, said Dr. Bengzon.
Medical City closed the year with a P463.86 million profit, a 6 percent increase from last year’s P434.39 million.
The hospital is expanding its presence through ambulatory services in Metro Manila via satellite clinics located mostly in malls and buying hospitals in the provinces.
Dr. Bengzon said they intend to promote the hospital’s brand of service nationwide through the network being developed.
The hospital recently acquired Great Savior International Hospital and Global Medical Network, both in Iloilo, as well as sister site Mercedes Medical Center Pampanga. It spent P700 million for the acquisitions and upgrade of facility.
Dr. Bengzon said between P300 million to P400 million has been allocated for the acquisition of another hospital.
Medical City is also interested in partnering with other hospitals that would like to carry the brand of service it offers.
"We are looking at areas that are underserved," said Ms. Bengzon.
The acquisitions will be funded by internally generated funds and some loans, she added.

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