MMC settles into ‘healthy normal,’ plans to expand services in 2021

Makati Medical Center (MMC) announced a downward trend in COVID-19 admissions, positivity rates, and healthcare worker infections, and an upward trend in operational capacity. 

“We have observed the highest protocols and now our patients are back. We call it a healthy normal. We continue to invest despite the pandemic,” said MMC President and Chief Executive Officer Pilar Nenuca, in a November 10 media roundtable discussion. 

Initiatives for 2021 include the creation of a transplant center, the expansion of the renal care center, and the acquisition of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and catheterization laboratory machines. 

This year, MMC unveiled telepharmacy, telepsychiatry, and home care services; a wellness center in Ayala North Exchange that has x-ray and electrocardiogram (ECG) services, as well as a breast clinic that is completely detached from hospital premises. 

From declaring its first case on March 8, to having its first mortality the second week of April, MMC has since settled towards what it calls a “healthy normal.” Of the 5,321 COVID-19 patients it treated as of October 16, 95% (or 5,072) were deemed recovered, a favorable rate compared to the national figure of 86% (or 310,642) as of October 20.

“In mitigating the impact of a pandemic, nothing is ever too much, too fast, too soon. We need to coexist with the virus,” said MMC medical director Dr. Saturnino P. Javier 

MMC tests its frontliners for COVID-19 every two weeks; those identified in a contact trace are likewise tested immediately. Team modules for psychosocial counseling have also been mandated for healthcare workers to help address any mental health issues. 

Dr. Javier stressed the importance of communication and collaboration in times of crisis.  

Patients who enter the hospital and are suspected of having COVID-19 are designated in hot zones (areas where infected patients are examined and treated). The rest are designated in cold zones (uncontaminated areas). Everyone admitted must further undergo a confirmatory COVID-19 test.

The enforcement of infection prevention and control protocols—together with bed capacity expansion, infrastructure revision, COVID-19 laboratory accreditation, and telemedicine adoption—all contributed to MMC’s coping with the pandemic. 

“The enforcement of strict infection prevention and control protocols can be summed up with the letters BCD: barrier, cleanliness, and distance,” said Dr. Javier. “The most important, though, is the letter A: awareness of all these protocols.” — Patricia B. Mirasol

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