Cebu hospitals ready to compete for medical tourists

September 21, 2009 - MAJOR hospitals in Cebu see the country’s Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) accreditation guidelines as enough to put them side by side international hospitals, ready to cater to medical tourists.

Cebu Health and Wellness Council president Oscar Tuason said international accrediting standards are a big help, but not as important as marketing Cebu hospitals’ services abroad and the satisfaction of their clients. He said the PhilHealth self-assessment book is on a par with international standards.

“There is no bigger accreditation than patients telling their friends about the services they received in Cebu,” said Tuason, also the hospital administrator of Cebu Doctor’s University Hospital (CDUH).

The council is a group of private-sector players and government agencies committed to promote Cebu as a medical and wellness destination in the world.

CDUH, Perpetual Succor Hospital and Chong Hua Hospital are packaging their services and renovated their facilities to accommodate the growing number of medical and wellness tourists into the city.

CDUH alone receives close to 50 foreign tourists a month as compared with 10 a year ago.

CDUH is the first hospital outside Manila accredited by the Department of Tourism as a medical-tourism facility with 17 well-appointed suites for its VIP patients.

“Cebu not only offers world-class medical facilities, but world-class tourism destinations,” Tuason said.

“We offer First-World facilities and services at Third-World prices.”

Medical procedures in Cebu remain cheap, Tuason said. For example, a heart bypass that could easily cost $120,000 in the US would only cost a tourist $28,000 in Cebu.

Estimates in 2006 show that global medical tourism is already a $120-billion industry with an annual 20-percent growth.

India remains a leader in Asia, followed by Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Tuason said Cebu can compete with the best in the world in heart procedures, orthopedic cases, eye treatment and other more basic medical services.

But he said Cebu’s reputation as a tourism destination puts it a cut above the rest as tourists can go on a vacation after their procedure. (businessmirror)

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