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Feb 05, 2024

Finally, A Cancer Care Center For Filipinos

Ayala Corp., under its AC Health unit, has pioneered the first specialty hospital for Filipinos seeking cancer treatment at a “most-cost competitive price” that (for some who can afford it) may spend to seek the best cancer treatment here or abroad.

In photo (from left) are Dr. Manuel Francisco Roxas, Healthway Cancer Care Hospital medical director; Jenara Rosanna Ong, Healthway Cancer Care Hospital chief operating officer; Jaime Ysmael, Healthway Medical Network president and CEO; Paolo Borromeo, AC Health president and CEO; Ruby Chiong, Healthway Cancer Care Hospital chief finance officer and Dr. Conrado Gabriel Lorenzo, Healthway Cancer Care Hospital medical advisory council head.

Just this Tuesday, journalists were invited to view for themselves the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital (HCCH) located in Ayala Land’s Arca South in Taguig City.

The facility was inaugurated last Nov. 24 by no less that President Marcos, adding to the country’s sorely needed medical facilities and concretizes AC Health’s commitment to nation-building by providing quality, specialized and affordable healthcare for Filipinos.

The Ayala Group envisions AC Health as its next core business, having invested over P10 billion already since 2015 to acquire and establish an integrated healthcare ecosystem that now includes medical clinics, pharmacies and hospitals under Healthway Medical Network, Konsulta MD, Generika Drugstore, I.E. Medical Inc. and MedEthix Inc.

The press tour coincided with the blessing of the hospital’s various facilities, which clearly reflected the thought and care taken by AC Health officials, led by president and chief executive officer Paolo Borromeo, HCCH president and CEO Jaime Ysmael, HCCH chief operating officer Jenara Ong, HCCH chief financial officer Ruby Chiong, HCCH medical director Dr. Manuel Roxas and HCCH medical advisory council headed by Dr. Conrado Lorenzo.

According to Borromeo, as part of the planning for the P3-billion, five-floor, 100-bedroom cancer facility, they travelled to India, Japan and Australia to view similar cancer facilities, taking note of the need to provide a soothing and calm experience for patients who would be seeking treatment.

A tranquil and calm environment

Such thought was clearly reflected in the design of the waiting room, especially at the radiation treatment floor in the basement, which provided a light, airy and calming Zen-rock garden for patients before they start their treatment.

Even the artwork of flowers and foliage, by no less than Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala, gives a deep assurance of beauty and serenity in what would otherwise be an anxiety-filled experience.

Also notable was that while only 10 percent of the hospital will be allotted for indigent patients, the so-called “ward” facility is actually more like a small private room with a door separating it from the other patients rather than the curtain panels normally seen in other hospital wards.

But what is most impressive about the Healthway Cancer Center is the modern and most advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment which have been made possible by a partnership with Siemens Healthineers, Varian and Cancer Treatment Services International for a five percent stake in the Taguig facility to ensure that they supply and maintain the most advanced equipment and technology to the hospital rather than act as just a mere equipment provider.

Additionally, Borromeo said, they also partnered with leading global drug manufacturers, such as Roche, MSD and Astra Zeneca, to provide world-class expertise in pharmaceuticals and drugs treatment.

Collaboration

According to HCCH medical director Dr. Roxas, the Healthway Cancer Center does not have its own medical staff, but would cooperate with other doctors, hospitals, AC Health’s own hospital and clinic network to refer patients for diagnostic and cancer treatment.

Consulting doctors have also been provided with offices where they can meet with patients. Borromeo clarified that Healthway is not adopting a system wherein the consulting doctors have to “buy” a stake in the facility, as the objective is to attract and collaborate with all to provide the best and most cost-effective treatment for Filipinos.

The HCCH officials all stressed that the facility is really intended for Filipinos and would collaborate with international medical facilities in the future for cancer research and clinical trials.

To address the issue of the current nursing staff shortage, Borromeo explained, HCCH has been able to join forces with a recruitment agency that will allow nursing students eyeing foreign deployment to do a two-year training with HCCH first before eventually being deployed abroad.

Similarly, the Ayala Group’s other investment in education will also be able to address the shortage of health workers.

The Healthway Cancer Center is only partially open for diagnostic referrals and consultations, but full operation will begin in January next year, or about a month away.

Borromeo clarified that the facility is primarily a cancer facility and will, therefore, not be open for other medical concerns, although it may accept some emergency cases related to cancer concern or special needs, but would definitely not accept COVID-related cases as cancer patients are already immuno-compromised and cannot be exposed to such cases.

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