East Avenue Medical Center
Have you ever imagined if the present East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) would only cater to government employees? Where then do you think poor Juan de la Cruz will run to during emergencies?
With the prohibitive cost of healthcare, medical procedures, professional fees, and even consultations now becoming a social burden to the common Filipino, the EAMC is heaven-sent for the poor.
On 8 October 1969, the GSIS General Hospital (GSISGH), under the leadership of Dr. Jose P. Caedo, Jr opened its doors exclusively to 850,000 GSIS members. After nine years of operation, the GSISGH extended its care to non-GSIS members.
The GSISGH then started with only 4,202 hospital admissions, 5,592 out-patients, 1,199 surgical procedures, 3,263 emergency room treatment, 5,314 x-ray procedures, and 6,272 cobalt treatment.
Over time, the hospital expanded its services to accommodate more patients. Fortunately, the hospital was supported by a reputable group of medical specialists, notable of whom was Dr. Joven Cuanang, present Chair of the St. Luke's Medical Center. To further complement its pool of specialists, the hospital boasted of a cobalt machine, power x-rays, and blood analyzer, which were the latest technology during that time.
The hospital also gained recognition and distinction for its total hospital care and post-graduate medical training. In fact, as a reflection of the hospital's emerging reputation for excellent healthcare delivery, the Philippine Board of Surgery, Inc. was organized there in November 1969.
On 9 June 1978, the GSISGH was dissolved and transferred to the Ministry of Health by virtue of Presidential Decree 1411. Aside from changing the hospital's name to Ospital ng Bagong Lipunan, its concept, philosophy and principles were also amended.
Key personnel were changed, properties were moved to other institutions, and hospital setup and policies were also changed according to the organization and function of a government hospital. As such, the new management concentrated all its efforts in treating diseases of all sectors of society.
Most noticeable among the various changes was the transformation of the hospital to become more service-oriented, which means that majority (90%) of hospital admissions will be indigent patients coming from nearby cities and municipalities.
Moreover, due to the hospital's new mandate of becoming more service-oriented, professional training had to take a backseat.
As a result of the hospital's new vision and mandate, the hospital's facilities and equipment were neglected, deteriorating through wear and tear.
The 1986 'people power' administration of then President Cory Aquino gave the Ospital ng Bagong Lipunan a shot in the arm it badly needed. Under the stewardship of then Health Secretary Alfredo Bengzon, the Ospital ng Bagong Lipunan was revitalized and showered with pledges of resources, administrative support, and budgetary assistance.
After a year of operation, there was a perception of general improvement in most levels of the hospital's function and activities. It was also during this time, under hospital director Dr. Adriano dela Paz that the hospital started with a new name, the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), which denoted a new ray of hope from the 'people power' fever.
Thus, the concerted effort of the whole EAMC management and staff started to bear fruit. The results spoke highly of their achievements, as follows: a) upgrading of patient care and health delivery both in quality and quantity b) continuing education and development training of both professional and administrative manpower c) maintenance, repair, and replacement of old and worn-out hospital facilities d) more vigorous programs with attractive incentives for clinical investigations and research by health entrepreneurs (EAMC investigators consistently won several top awards in nationally conducted research contests for various specialties).
Today, the EAMC, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Roland Cortez, stands out among its contemporary and boasts of modern facilities and equipment. Guided by a new mission, the hospital aims to provide quality tertiary level healthcare services to all patients, grant training to medical and allied healthcare professionals in compliance with DOH standards, and conduct relevant and bioethical researches towards the further upliftment of healthcare delivery.
The EAMC currently averages 76 daily hospital admissions and about 497 outpatient services. Annually, it accommodates approximately 1,862 surgical procedures, 16,390 x-ray procedures, 2,696 ultrasound procedures, and attends to about 70,630 emergency room patients.
Various renovations and reconstruction of hospital wards and facilities have characterized the past years. Some of the state-of-the-art equipment the hospital has acquired includes gastro videoscope, 45 computer units, urology machine, burn unit equipment, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Some of the departments that were refurbished were pediatrics, operating and delivery rooms. Hospital corridors were also repainted as a start of total hospital restoration program. The full wing of the Intensive Care Unit was also renovated. Soon, the sixth floor and the southwest area of the fifth floor will be available for occupancy.
Another change was the transfer of the chapel to the first floor to be more accessible. The hospital chaplain is on call 24-hours a day and performs daily mass services.
Also, employees established a hospital cooperative. This enabled them to purchase basic necessities at a much lower prices. The latest welcome innovation in the hospital is the setting up of a restaurant at the second floor. Aside from giving employees more and varied menu choices, it can help save on hospital expenses because it can accommodate meetings or any special functions, which are traditionally held outside the hospital.
Indeed, the new EAMC is slowly gaining ground and heading toward to its vision of being a premier tertiary category hospital of the DOH.
- Donato Dennis B. Magat. Health Beat Magazine Issue no. 44. Department of Health of the Philippines. (Accessed on May 27, 2010).