There was a news item two years ago about the Philippine General Hospital, the government-run tertiary hospital in Metro Manila which has become the go-to place of poor patients.
In that story, the hospital was portrayed as becoming better as it has gotten key medical facilities which in the past it could not afford. To be able to improve its services, the hospital management sought the help of alumni of the hospital and that the national government under President Rodrigo R. Duterte has also emphasized its focus on improving its health facilities.
It seems that this has become the norm in the big tertiary government hospitals as even the Southern Philippines Medical Center has also improved its services.
In Davao del Norte, the retired medical director of the Davao Regional Medical Center (what used to be the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City), Dr. Romulo Busuego, made sure the hospital would become a better government medical facility before he decided to hang his laboratory gown.
At present, the hospital is among the few government medical facilities that have state-of-the-art equipment. It even has a cancer center whose equipment is comparable with the rest in the industry.
These government hospitals have made privately-run facilities run for their money even when new private hospitals in the region have either decided to expand or have decided to set up their facilities.
Even one of the biggest names in the industry, Saint Luke’s Medical Center, has decided to compete for the local market.
However, while this is happening, those hospitals in the rural areas have remained in a dire situation. Many government hospitals in small towns and third class cities have been fighting for their existence just like many of their parents.
In this regard, it would be better for big government-run medical institutions to help these smaller hospital improve their facilities. This step will help reduce the patients that go to big hospitals and in turn, these earning state-run hospitals will be able to improve their balance sheets as they will cater mostly to the paying patients or grave illnesses.
The small brother, big brother concept will be better if implemented in the government bureaucracy, particularly in the healthcare industry. This will not just mean better delivery of services, but also result in better government revenues.