APMC to boost health care and medical tourism in Western Visayas

Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron (right), APMC chairman of the board, discusses the main features of the brand-new Asia Pacific Medical Center-Iloilo on May 28, 2023. With him are PRO-6 regional director Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor (left) and Senator Imee Marcos. (Francis Allan L. Angelo photo)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The operation of the brand-new Asia Pacific Medical Center-Iloilo (APMCI) will bode well for a world-class and modern healthcare service in Western Visayas.

APMC-Iloilo at Brgy. Ungka, Jaro, Iloilo City was inaugurated and blessed on Sunday, May 28, 2023 after six years of construction.

Iloilo 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron, APMC chairman of the board, led the event along with invited guests Senator Cynthia Villar and presidential sister and Senator Imee Marcos.

Despite the difficulties and challenges, Biron said APMCI will stand as the first multispecialty facility of international standards in Iloilo and Western Visayas.

Biron said that apart from Ilonggos, expatriates can expect world-class services and facilities which can be covered by their health management organization privileges.

The doctor-businessman-turned-lawmaker said one of the requirements for accepting foreign patients is to build a hospital of international standards and must be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).

An independent, not-for-profit organization, JCI is the highest accrediting body for patient safety standards. Its mission is “to improve the safety and quality of care in the international community through the provision of education, publications, consultation, and evaluation and accreditation services.”

“Unless you are a JCI standard hospital, which this hospital will be, you cannot accept foreign patients. The first JCI audit is in December this year and once we secure that JCI accreditation, we can accept HMOs and patients from all over the world,” Dr. Biron said.

He added that the Korean ambassador to the Philippines visited Iloilo and the hospital while international health insurance providers have also reached out to the management as they are willing to bring in patients.

“We also have Thai visitors. While Thailand is very successful with medical tourism, they have limits to the treatments they can provide like cancer treatment. We will be the first in the country that will offer treatment for stage 3 and 4 cancer,” Biron said.

APMCI also partnered with a Malaysian molecular scientist who discovered the natural killer or NK cell treatment for cancer, a treatment approach where immune cells are boosted for an effective response against cancer.

“He already visited here and will start putting up the NK cell treatment facility in August. In order to attract patients from abroad, the hospital has to be of international standards, both in diagnosis and treatment. So, it will not take that long. Iloilo will be known for medical tourism,” he added.