Mall-based surgery center to lower cost of medical services, eye checkups through Eyesite
Mall-based surgery center Qualimed has lowered the cost of medical services in the country through standardization of services including eye checkups administered by the Asian Eye Center affiliate Eyesite.
A partnership between Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), Mercado General Hospital (MGH), and Asian Eye Institute (AEI), Qualimed is revolutionizing local health care, making it more accessible to poorer population.
“We are on a constant lookout for prospective partners who share the same commitment as ours—of providing high quality and affordable healthcare for all markets. Be they partners in technology systems or medical professional services,” said Dr. Edwin Mercado, MGH president, in a mall clinic launch recently.
First, the clinic in the mall already gives customers convenience and easier accessibility to health checkups as malls are familiar and happy places for most people.
Qualimed just opened its outlet in Fairview Terraces in Quezon City which is first of its mall-based branch that has an Eyesite.
The services in the mall clinics include multi-specialty consultation, dialysis, dermatology and aesthetic services, one-stop eye care, and optical service.
The multi-specialty consultation includes those for internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, EENT (eye, ear, nose, and throat), among others.
However, aside from the convenience advantage, what the ALI-MGH-AEI partnership is doing is revolutionizing health care through cost reduction.
For the equipment, the surgery center has partnered with Siemens in volume purchase of equipment.
It is bringing in more equipment at bulk purchase, consequently lower prices. This will be in line with the group’s expansion in malls in the next five years.
Among the equipment are for digital mammography system, computed tomography scan, X ray, ultrasound and cardiac system, and fluoroscope, among others.
Eyesite will similarly adopt cost-reduction programs for patients.
“The Asian Eye Institute serves a premiere market. But through Eyesite, we’ll get to serve all Filipinos. It will be a vehicle to serve a broader,” said AEI President Benjamin K. Liboro.
A cost-reduction factor is the standardization of service across all mall clinics and other surgery clinics and hospitals that have yet to be constructed over the next five years.
What Qualimed is doing is to employ some family medicine or internal medicine specialists.
In order to ensure quality of professional services, it is accrediting health professional groups.
Because of these efforts, Qualimed health services may be 10 to 40 percent lower in cost compared to other hospitals and clinics especially compared to premium hospitals.
Eyesite is also employing eye specialists.
“Our doctors do not practice anywhere-else. We have a model –all our doctors are full time employees rather than consultants. That allows it to control pricing regardless of location. When patient volume grows, we would be able to bring down what we charge patients,” said Liboro.
Eyesite will have published tariffs. . Price will not vary from doctor to doctor. For instance, a pre-screening service will cost P300. Adult checkup will be charged around P500 which is 50 percent lower compared to some eye services elsewhere.
Qualimed and Eyesite will also tap the services of state-run Philhealth in order to reach out to the masses.
Key services are pre-screening for cataract, glaucoma, retinal and corneal disease, chalazion (cyst in the eyelid or kuliti) removal, treatment of dry eye and pterygium (corneal growth experienced by people who are often outdoors), and treatment of other corneal, retinal, and external eye disease treatment.
It will offer pediatric opthalmology and pediatric genetics (to test if young children are predisposed to certain diseases). It will have a specialist on treating adult strabismus or heterotropia where patient’s eyes are not properly aligned with each other.
The health group will accept patients that have HMO (health maintenance organization) cards—thereby making services more accessible.
While most people spend money for devices like mobile phones that are expensive, more people are expected to spend for health care services through HMOs.
Alwyn Sta. Rosa, AEI vice president, said Eyesite will have its own advocacy.
“Eyesite is not just medical eye center. It’s also about advocacy. One in 10 Filipinos do not know they have eye threatening conditions. Our problem at the Asian Eye Institute is patients find out their problem when it’s too late,” said Sta. Rosa.
ALI is now partnering with HMO Philcare in order to provide HMO services to its lower-income employees including janitors, according to ALI Corporate Planninig Head David Y. San Pedro.
“We’re finding a way for janitors and people earning P7,000 to P10,000 to avail of health services. This is our commitment in affordability,” said San Pedro.
Philcare is now the fifth largest HMO in the country.
Qualimed will also have services on preventive medicine, vaccinations, and pre-employment services.
It is establishing hospitals and base hospitals. It will offer minimal invasive services like- outpatient laparoscpopy, infertility programs, and other services with bundled rates.
Over the long term, AEI plans to make available to more people LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) eye surgery.
“Now the biggest hurdle in LASIK is price second to fear. If we can address price, more patient will enjoy life without glasses,” said Liboro.
Optical shops will also be present in Eyesite.
What Eyesite will be able to offer to more people are its services for cataract surgery which comprises more than 70 percent of all eye-related operation.
Qualimed is a network of health care facilities run by MGH and is co-owned by ALI by 36 percent.
New surgery centers will rise in ALI malls in TBD (Manila), three sites from 2015 to 2017; Bldg 6, Taguig, 2915; UP Town Center, Quezon City, 2016; Balintawak (hospital), 2017, and Arca South, 2018 (hospital).
Outside of Metro Manila, the expansion for the clinics will be in Altaraza, Bulacan, 2014 and Abreeza and Centrio in Mindanao, 2016 and 2017.
For the hospitals, expansion will be in North Point, Nuvali, Laguna, 2016; Liberty, Cavite, 2017; Davao, 2018; Cebu, 2018; North Point and Atria in Visayas, 2014 and 2015; and Alviera, Pampanga, 2018.