Cost of dialysis in Davao now cheaper than anywhere else in Luzon, Visayas

By Digna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, June 10 (PNA) – The dialysis treatment in Davao City has been made affordable for patients with only P600 per session compared to centers offering treatments in Luzon and the Visayas.

This was disclosed by Trinidad F. Ola, the regional manager for Mindanao of the Nephro Group of Dialysis Center (Nephro Group) during Tuesday’s Davao Business Forum at DermPath, SM City Davao.

Ola said the affordable dialysis treatment is possible after the city government of Davao coughed up funds to shoulder part of the cost of the treatment through the Lingap Program which has been institutionalized by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. This is aside from the coverage of PhilHealth and the assistance from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Ola emphasized that it is only Davao that offered the Lingap Program for poor families that cannot afford medical treatments. Dialysis treatment, for instance, the city government shoulders part of the cost for a whole year treatment. A patient will be treated twice a week or 104 sessions in a year covering 52 weeks.

She said a patient undergoes two sessions weekly at P600 per session or about a thousand per week which rate is way below compared to the past years when dialysis would cost about P5,000 per session.

She said through the years the treatment has been lowered and it became less costly especially to those indigent patients as the city government put resources making treatment less costly for poor families.

Even with a lower cost treatment, Ola said the Nephro Group maintains its mission to bring high quality and very affordable treatment to more Filipino renal patients of U.S. quality standard.

Ola also attributed the lower price of dialysis here to the cost of doing business in Davao City which is much better in terms of operating cost in other major cities in Luzon and the Visayas.

The Nephro Group was founded in 1995 by Paul J. Jochico, a Filipino who is the CEO of TPR Medical, a company engaged in the distribution of hemodialysis supplies and equipment in the United States, John F. Steffens, an American whose expertise is the management of dialysis center in the United States and Dr. Surya Viriya, a Chinese-American Nephrologist, who is actively practicing in New York.

It has pioneered operating quality Out Patient dialysis for the past 17 years with over 1 million treatments performed and the first to bundle medication, laboratory and dialyzer for PhilHealth patients.

Ola said the clinics are independently run and are not at the mercy of suppliers because everything in the supply chain is integrated.

Nephro Group operates eight dialysis centers in Mindanao, three in the Visayas and 19 in Luzon. In Davao City, Ola said the Nephro Group has two centers where the free standing dialysis center in the north at Bajada, Davao City has 15 stations while the south area at the Nephrology Center of St. Alexius, Inc. (NCSA) with its newest expansion has a total of 30 stations.

Dr. Frank Guillano, medical director of Nephro Center for South Davao City and a partner-owner of NCSA, said the people now are more aware of hemodialysis treatment; and, more patients submit for treatment because of its affordability.

He said their center runs fully booked with four shifts in a day as it could accommodate three patients hooked in one machine per shift.

Meanwhile, Guillano said there is now an increase in the number of people undergoing treatment compared to the previous years. “Two years ago our patients were only at 500 now it becomes a thousand and most of our patients belong to the age bracket 50 to 60 whose diseases were the result of diabetes and hyper tension,” he said.

The latest technology and medical supplies are being used in the centers that are all imported from the US, he said, adding these make their patients look normal unlike before where the patient becomes dark in color after the treatment.

“Our patients after dialysis will look as if it has not gone through treatment,” he said.

According to him, a person must undergo treatment once the kidney is damaged in order to live longer and enjoy normal life. (PNA)