Monday, June 25, 2012

Hospitals in the Philippines. Health Care Costs, Air Ambulances, Medical Care, Doctors, Clinics, Best Hospitals Room Rates, Delivery of Child in Hospitals in the Philippines

Medical care in the Philippines

Health Care in the Philippines - Some of the Best Hospitals and Clinics

If you need to get to a hospital emergency room fast take a taxi, tricycle or hire an empty jeepney if you cannot find an ambulance.

Most jeepney drivers will let you pay a flat fare and then take you as a private passenger as if it were a taxi. 200 or 300 pesos would be a fair price to go about 3 to 5 miles (in my experience). However, if they know you need to go to a hospital they may charge more. 

Filipinos should be able to get free medical care at their local Barangay clinics (Barangay = Village, District or Ward).

There are many hospitals in the Philippines and many medical centers and clinics in the Philippines.
And, there are some differences between medical care in the Philippines and in the USA.
Hospitals and ambulance services are similar but with many differences.

The easiest doctors to find are those who maintain clinics in medical centers or hospitals.

It may be difficult to find local doctors via the internet. If one does not subscribe to a home phone line one does not receive a phone book. And, I have never seen a phone book in a hotel room.

A list of  hospitals and doctors all over the Philippines.

A hospital will usually require an initial deposit, from foreigners,  before they will admit a person. In 2008 Makati Medical Center (MMC) required a deposit of 15,000 pesos from us ($361 US as of current exchange rate Oct. 16, 2012). Some refer to this saying that hospitals and doctors require payment in advance of treatment.

And, after treatment, if a person does not pay the bill in full the hospital may refuse to discharge the patient until payment has been made. The bill continues to get larger each day. I've been told "That's just the way it is in the Philippines".

A deposit is not needed to visit the 24 hour emergency room at MMC. They accept major credit cards.

For those who cannot afford private hospitals there are government hospitals. Those provide free medical care. However, a patient must pay for necessary items like needles, medicines, etc. If a patient cannot afford those the patient will be discharged, so I have been told. So, free is not totally free.

For poor Filipinos getting treated at a hospital may be impossible. Read the case of a family who returned from Hong Kong to visit family in a remote village in the Philippines. Read about the gross negligence they encountered when they took their two sick young children to the nearest emergency room which was about an hour away from their relatives village. The article at depicts "A medical practice in which the poor are likely to die."

Ambulance Service in the Philippines

As for ambulances with paramedics, there basically are not any in most cities of the Philippines.
Hospitals usually have one or two ambulances parked in front. But getting one when you need one would require  you to have already written down some ambulance and hospital phone numbers and calling them. As for response time, where we lived in a rural town it would have taken an ambulance about 40 minutes to come and pick us up and then return to the hospital.
As far as I know there are no paramedics in the ambulances. The small town of about 98,000 residents has a government hospital but there I was given a number of a private citizen who drives an "ambulance" van to take people to and from the hospital.

Ambulance service in Metro Manila, Philippines
Lifeline Rescue ambulances serving Metro Manila

There is an ambulance company named Lifeline Rescue serving Metro Manila. They say they have fully equipped ambulances with paramedics. They even offer in-home doctor visits. You must pay a membership fee to join to avail of their services.

In Metro Manila there are other ambulance services also. I have not researched that yet. In Manila and in other crowded locales do not expect a fast trip to the hospital even if you are able to summon an ambulance. The traffic is terribly heavy and yields very slowly, if at all, to ambulances.

Modified vans serve as ambulances in the Philippines.
Sun Valley Ambulance in Paranaque City, Metro Manila

In Barangay Merville in Paranaque I have seen what serve for ambulances for many people.
If they are fortunate their Barangay may have a van which will be driven by a volunteer. In the Barangay of Merville I had the opportunity to ride in one while it was transporting my wife to a hospital. She was laying down on a foam mattress which was on a wooden table fastened to the inside wall if the van. The ride was not smooth, new shock absorbers were sorely needed. When the van hit bumps she bounced up off the mattress and down again, over and over. No strap to keep her on the mattress. At least we got to the hospital. If we had a car or had taken a taxi it would have been a smoother ride with no bouncing.

Ambulance in Florida, USA.
Ambulance & fire department rescue vehicle in Florida, USA.

This is in stark contrast to ambulance service in the US. In the Tampa Bay area of Florida ambulances are stationed at many locations around the entire area and respond to 911 emergency calls. Each has 2 paramedics. They are equipped with a lot of medical equipment and with radio equipment which can connect them to a doctor en route. They sit with their engines running and wait to be dispatched. Call and they will be at your door within about 4 minutes. This is true 24 hours a day. Equipped with good shock absorbers and suspension they provide a smooth ride.

I recently read online that the city of Davao, on Mindanao, has a 911 service and ambulances for the public. You will need to inquire as to whether there is a 911 system in Manila or other cities in the Philippines.

If you are going to be living in a city or rural area in the Philippines it would be a really good idea to locate a nearby ambulance service, get the phone number and inquire about arrangements in case you should be in need of an ambulance at a later date.

Check out Air Ambulance service in the Philippines. Get information and see membership plans.

Doctors' Fees in the Philippines

As far as I can see, most doctors do not maintain private offices, they have clinics in hospitals or medical centers. Many have clinics in several different hospitals or medical centers. Some also see patients at clinics in shopping malls.

A typical visit to a doctor (MD) at a clinic cost about 500 pesos or about $12 US. (as of exchange rate on July 1, 2012).

An office visit at a clinic to see a specialists cost from about 800 pesos to 1,000 pesos ($19 to $24 US).

It is common practice in the Philippines to go directly to a specialist for any particular ailment.
In the USA it is common if not required to visit a general practitioner first. Then the general practitioner will refer one to a specialist.

Medical centers or facilities in the Philippines

I have been in hospitals which were not air conditioned, the windows were open and mosquitoes were flying in the halls. Considering that Dengue and Malaria are endemic in the Philippines open windows are probably unacceptable to most foreigners.

If you have any kind of medical condition I advise you to stay in hotels which are near hospitals.
If you will be staying for an extended time it would be best to get an apartment or home near a hospital.

Possibly the best care is to be found at the major medical centers in Manila, on the island of Luzon.

Some of the top medical centers are listed below. Click on their links to visit their web sites to learn more.

St Lukes Medical Center, Quezon City, Philippines
St. Luke's Medical Center
St. Luke's Medical Center, in Quezon City, near Manila. Supposed to be one of the best. We have never been there. Contact St. Luke's.

Makati Medical Center, Manila, Philippines
Makati Medical Center (MMC)

Makati Medical Center (MMC), in Manila. Contact MMC.

Requires a deposit before admittance.

This medical center required a deposit of 15,000 pesos before they would admit a patient in 2008.
For comparison, Paranaque Doctor's Hospital in Paranaque City, Metro Manila required a deposit of 5,000 pesos in 2008. So, it is best to always carry your credit card when going to a hospital.

Birthing at Makati Medical Center in Manila, other hospitals and birthing centers.

Room Rates at Makati Medical Center in Manila compared to rates in USA

Small private rooms at MMC cost about $80 US per day. Compare that to a private room at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. In 2008, when my wife was expecting, I asked someone in the US to check the rate there. She was told that a private room would cost over $800 US per day.

At Makati Medical Center we have utilized several types of rooms, from a bed in a ward to semi-private room to a small private room. The semi-private rooms are a very good deal; in fact they are small private rooms. The difference is that they share a bathroom with several other rooms. This was never a problem. And, they are maintained spotlessly.

Emergency Room Cost at Makati Medical Center compared to USA

On occasion I have had need of the 24 hour emergency room at MMC. Can you believe that the total cost of an emergency room visit there is about $40 US. Compare that to an emergency room visit in Florida, USA where one can easily spend $900 - $3,000 US or much more for each visit. It is imperative that one have health insurance in the US. Only 8 hospitals had an average charge under $1,000 US in years 2010 and 2011. South Miami Hospital (Baptist Health) had the highest average charge in Florida at $7,874 per ER visit (re: Consumer Health Ratings). This is probably one reason why many younger American retirees, who don't have health insurance or Medicare, retire to the Philippines.

In 2009, just out of curiosity, I called a helicopter service and inquired "How much would it cost to be taken by helicopter from Cavite to Makati Medical Center?" (a distance of about 25 miles or 40 km). The answer was "50,000 pesos. (or about $1,128.83 US)" So, air ambulance service is probably not an option for most people.

Hot water for hand washing at Makati Medical Center?
The MMC services and doctor's are among the best in the Philippines, but, do not expect to find hot water in the public bathrooms on the floors. When we were there, in 2008, hot water was only provided in the more expensive private rooms. I was always taught that it is best to wash one's hands with soap and hot water to kill germs. Possibly they now provide hot water for all hand washing. Why not call them before deciding which medical center to visit. I hear that MMC has undergone a major make over since we were there, there have been many improvements. Take a virtual tour of MMC rooms and more view a large exterior picture of MMC

Compare cost of birthing at MMC to costs in Texas, USA

One day I was inside the US Embassy in Manila and chatted with an American who was there with his wife, their toddler and a newborn baby. He was from Texas. They had flown back to the Philippines for the birth of the baby. The first had been born in the Philippines while they were living there. But they flew back to save money on this delivery. He said that it saved them about $20,000 US.

Eateries nearby MMC

Across the street from the front entrance to MMC are McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks. At the cafeteria on the first floor of MMC you will find mostly Filipino foods. At certain hours delicious pasta is prepared to order for a very low cost, just ask when. I understand that there are more eateries in MMC now. Other restaurants can be found across from the rear entrance to the hospital and down the street.

Manila Doctors Hospital, in Manila.

We have never visited there but it has a very good reputation. Contact the hospital.

Angeles University Foundation Medical Center
Angeles University Foundation Medical Center

Angeles University Foundation Medical Center (AUF)

In Angeles City we have visited several doctors at AUF. Contact AUF.

24 Hour Emergency Room services at AUF

No deposit is required to visit the emergency room. The staff is very helpful and are the nurses and doctors are among the best. Fees are very low compared to US. An emergency room visit may cost from about 800 pesos to maybe 1,500 pesos. They have always diagnosed us correctly, which led to prompt recovery.

A private doctor's office or medical clinic in Angeles City, Philippines

While in Angeles City we also visited Doctor Manalo, at her private clinic, the Merly M. Manalo Clinic, several times. It is a very small clinic located on Narsico Street about 50 feet from Fields Avenue in the Balibago section of Angeles City (not far from SM City Clark). She is what we call in the USA a General Practitioner. She has treated me, my wife, and our child. She is a very personable doctor and we never felt rushed. She prescribed the right medicines and our health improved quickly each time. Call the clinic at +63456256514 or +639178111089.

The clinic is easily accessible from most hotels in this main tourist section of Angeles City. Get there by jeepney or tricycle. Ask the driver if he knows where the clinic is. If he doesn't know then find one who does.

We were referred by her to a laboratory called Compuserve, on Don Juico Ave. for blood test. They can do all types of blood tests. We had asked at AUF and were told that they do many but not all tests.

Asian Hospital, Metro Manila, Philippines
Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Visit Asian Hospital's web site. I have heard several Filipinos say that Asian Hospital is the newest and probably the best hospital in Metro Manila. We have never been there. However, several of the doctors we visited at Makati Medical Center also have clinics at Asian Hospital and other hospitals.
We have never visited there. Contact the hospital.

Medical City, Metro Manila
Medical City, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City, Metro Manila

Visit Medical City's web site.
We have never visited there. But, I hear it is a very good center. Contact Medical City.

See 2013 Maternity Packages at hospitals in Manila area. Costs of normal delivery and Cesarean delivery.

Comparing health care in other countries to that in the Philippines

Read what an American, who has lived in the Netherlands, has to say about health care in other countries.
In the Netherlands he was handed needles and vaccines and told to inoculate his children himself.
In the Philippines the doctors or nurses administer the vaccines as they do in the USA.

Read what another person, who is considering retiring in the Philippines, has discovered about comparing medical care in the USA to care in the Philippines.

Here is an article comparing cost of delivery of a baby in the USA, Canada and Papua New Guinea.

One of the biggest scams in the Philippines is asking someone to help with medical or hospital bills. The best advice I have seen is, never send money to someone you have not met in person. Read about this and scammers and dating scams.

Please share your personal experiences with medical care in the Philippines with other readers by making comments below.

Be sure to read "10 ways to save on hospital bills" in the Philippines.

Find out about Health Insurance In The Philippines, International Health Insurance and Medical Evacuation Insurance.

If you do not pay your hospital bill in full you may be prevented from leaving the hospital.
I have heard of this happening to some Filipinos. If you get in that situation it will probably be a good idea to get in touch with an attorney.

US Department of State Travel web site advice regarding Hospitals and Medical Insurance.

You may get to a hospital by taxi, jeepney, train or tricycle. Or use a combination of these forms of transportation. Don't hesitate to ask the drivers or passengers for directions or where to meet connecting transportation. Most people speak English.

Will Medicare cover me in the Philippines? If you are a US citizen it will probably not cover you in the Philippines. You may be covered in hospital in Guam or you may need to fly to hospital in Hawaii.

Most medical treatment cost about 10% of what it cost in the USA.
Asia Bill writes in his blog about health care in the Philippines.
He has chosen to self-insure:
"HEALTH  INSURANCE  OPTIONS in the PHILIPPINES - When considering the monthly payments versus coverage included please be reminded that most health care in the Philippines is approximately only 10% to 20% the cost of any medical treatment in the USA.We have never had health insurance choosing to have enough cash savings for any family health emergency. My wife Lorna had two minor surgeries during her 40s and with her stay in a private room with Manila Bay view for several days each time in the nearby San Juan De Dios Hospital and additional blood and other tests, the first time it cost us only P10,000 ( at the time about U$350 ) and the second time several years later P20,000 ( at that time less than U$500 ). When we go to a specialist whther it be a urologist or an eye doctor or dermatogist the basic cost of the visit is only P400 to P500 ( basically U$10!!!! )"

Hospitals that provide Hemodialysis Blood Treatment in the Philippines.

Check out this list of hospitals that provide Hemodialysis treatment.

Medical Tourism in the Philippines

Many people travel to the Philippines to take advantage of lower medical costs of providers who provide Medical Tourism services.


If you have had experiences at Philippine hospitals, clinics or Doctors, good or bad, please share with us by making comments below.

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This post will be expanded upon. Check back for more information about doctors, hospitals, clinics, air ambulances, medicare and medical care in the Philippines. Last updated December 4, 2016.