A few observations regarding the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Manila based on our recent visit there. Cardinal Santos is not a large hospital, having just 235 beds. It’s located in an affluent district of Manila and traditionally, Cardinal Santos was thought of as a hospital for the affluent and famous. Perhaps this reputation has been diluted by the establishment of other upscale Manila hospitals such as The Medical City, St. Luke’s Global City and Asian Hospital, but it seemed to us that the clients we saw at Cardinal Santos were very far from destitute. Further, don’t assume that prices at top Manila hospitals are higher than provincial hospitals.
The physical facilities, while older, were well maintained and still a bit more upscale than most. We have been horrified by public restrooms in some Iloilo hospitals. Not so Cardinal Santos. It’s also our impression that many of Manila’s top doctors hold clinics at Cardinal Santos. We experienced a number of signs which suggested that Cardinal Santos is well run and focused on customer service. They even monitor and quickly respond to emails sent to the generic hospital email address. After returning to Iloilo, we needed a copy of lab test results from Cardinal Santos. They were sent to us immediately with an apology that it was not done sooner. Our impression is that Cardinal Santos seeks to keep its affluent patients happy through exceptionally good customer service.
Carol and I ended up at Cardinal Santos because we both needed some specialized tests. Our neurosurgeon suggested Carol have an electromyography and nerve conduction studies to figure out whether problems with her hand were due to carpal tunnel or cervical spine problems. Fortunately it turned out to be the later. Bob had had previous echocardiograms done in Cebu and Iloilo City, but his Cardinal Santos cardiologist suggested having one one at Cardinal Santos. We were both very positively impressed with the competence and professionalism of the doctors and technicians who performed these tests.
It did not surprise us that at least some tests at Cardinal Santos cost LESS than similar tests in Iloilo City. For example we were charged P4095.25 for a 2-D echocardiogram at St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo. This included P2,775.25 for the hospital and P1,320 for the cardiologist in attendance. At upscale Cardinal Santos we were charged a total of P3,746.25 for the same services. The cost of routine lab tests was substantially higher at Cardinal Santos. For example, we were charged P1,500 for a lipid profile at Cardinal Santos whereas the same test is P735 at St. Pauls Hospital in Iloilo City. We were charged P3,801 for Carol’s electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies.
We often find that the cost of specialized medical services are the same or lower at top hospitals in Manila than in Iloilo City. Perhaps this is the result of greater competition. Further, the patient will experience a level of customer service at a hospital like Cardinal Santos that one is not likely to find in the provinces. Provincial hospitals by their nature serve a wide range of patients. Hospitals like Cardinal Santos may serve diverse patients but the focus is certainly on the affluent. It’s hard to resist the allure of top services for lower prices. Of course it’s inconvenient and somewhat expensive to fly to and stay in Manila. We use such trips as an opportunity for a change of scenery and shopping for all those things we can’t find in the provinces. We are happy for a few days in Manila and happy to return to our bucolic home in Tigbauan.