St. Luke’s to up budget for hospital at Azuela Cove

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Ayala Land Assistant Vice-President Enrique B. Manuel, Jr. -- CARMENCITA A. CARILLO

ST. LUKE’S Medical Center said it could spend more than the initial P2.79 billion it allocated for a new facility it is building with Ayala Land, Inc.’s township in Davao City.

Ayala Land Assistant Vice-President Enrique B. Manuel, Jr. — CARMENCITA A. CARILLO

Part of Ayala Land’s Azuela Cove is the 100- to 250-bed St. Luke’s Hospital which will start construction next year and is targeted for completion by 2020.

“The original budget of P2.79 billion will not be enough. Maybe we will have to exceed that anywhere from P4-P5 billion including equipment,” St. Luke’s President and CEO Edgardo R. Cortez said in an interview.

The company executive, a doctor, said among other things they have to consider in the budget are gas piping, vacuum systems and elevators.

Noting how expensive medical equipment is, Mr. Cortez said the hospital has a radiation facility equipment costing already P280 million, while a robotic surgery equipment will cost nearly P400 million.

“We will offer almost all services (in Manila) but not everything, specialty services, like heart, cancer, surgery, all the basic things geared towards sub-specialties,” he said.

Mr. Cortez explained sub-specialty services as “for instance if you go under training for internal medicine, they consider that your specialty.”

“But you can go to a sub-specialty like cardiology, nuclear medicine, different very specific kinds of doctors who can treat problems in those specific areas, like you can go under surgery but under that you can go to a sub-specialty like liver surgery, cancer surgery.”

He said the group wants to bring the concept of sub specialty in the city because “we feel if you have these sub specialties, the people who can do all these things, you give them the best equipment that would be an added assurance to the patients, that we can give you a better quality of health care, hopefully, better success rates.”

Mr. Cortez said Alcantara and Sons, Inc. President Edith I. Alcantara invited them and “showed us this place more than a year ago and they wanted us to present what St. Luke’s is all about.”

“They said it would be a good thing if we can build a hospital here, so we have to study if there is really a need for us to be present here.”

St. Luke’s conducted a market survey and found out that none of the hospitals in the city now can address all of those since one hospital can have the equipment while another hospital can address only the expertise requirement.

“When we looked at what we have and what we do best, all of those are our expertise, and so if they are asking for that then maybe we have a place in Davao,” he said.

He said they intend to bring their expertise and specialization here so that the people of Davao will no longer have to go to Manila anymore. St. Luke’s is eyeing the Davao market and the rest of Mindanao. However, it is also eyeing medical tourism for the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area.

Once established, St. Luke’s Hospital in Davao will price its services lower than Manila rates to keep up with local competition. “This is a different market, we can’t price it the same way, market forces will dictate the price, we will make the price competitive with current hospitals in Davao,” he added. — Carmencita A. Carillo