Metro Pacific Hospital expands COVID19 capacity


Manuel V. Pangilinan

Amid the unabated rise of local coronavirus (COVID19) cases, healthcare chain operator Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. (MPHHI) is expanding its capacity to serve afflicted patients and is likewise helping state-owned East Avenue Medical Center scale up its capacity to address the pandemic.

The hospital group, an affiliate of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), has secured accreditation from the Department of Health for three of its 16 hospitals to operate as COVID-19 testing facilities: Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital & Medical Center, and St. Elizabeth Hospital. Nine other institutions are in various stages of the accreditation process.

The group earlier designated Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Sta. Mesa, Manila as its main COVID-19 referral hospital.

In a recent press briefing, MPHHI president Augusto Palisoc said the group was working to increase its COVID19 allotment to 30 percent of total nationwide capacity from 20 percent at present.

With the recent resurgence of cases, Palisoc said the group’s hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) were seeing a high occupancy rate of between 70 percent to 100 percent.

An average of 537 beds were made available by the group to COVID 19 patients during the second quarter. To date, this has increased to 620, of which 460 beds are in the NCR.

Outside of the existing 620 dedicated COVID19 beds, MPHHI director for corporate development Jose Noel de la Paz said the group had identified 200 additional beds that could be dedicated to COVID19 response.

“That will able us to hit 30 percent of total bed capacity as dedicated to COVID,” Dela Paz said.

But increasing the bed capacity is just one part of the equation.

“What’s really holding us back is warm bodies to attend to the beds as more and more of our healthcare workers become sidelined to be quarantined or admitted themselves,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPHHI has committed to help East Avenue Medical Center build a COVID19-dedicated facility with capacity of at least 220 beds.

“At the moment, they already have the infrastructure. It’s a matter of fitting out the infrastructure with all the necessary equipment that they need. The list (of requirements) is already with us,” said Pilar Nenuca Almira, who leads the group’s COVID19 response team.

Almira noted that MPIC chair Pangilinan had committed to help East Avenue Medical Center develop the new COVID19 facility, by providing the required medical equipment amounting to a sum of P35 to P45 million.

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