Mike Defensor

QC tertiary hospital up for sale

July 9, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 1010 views

A BIG level-3 or tertiary hospital in Quezon City is up for sale amid the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor revealed Friday.

Based on a notice to stockholders he has obtained, Defensor identified the health facility as the 148-bed Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center (CHMC), located at the populous Fairview-Novaliches-Quirino Avenue area.

“Are health care establishments struggling due to the raging health crisis? If they are, what help could government agencies like the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) extend to them?” the lawmaker-health advocate asked.

He said it is also possible that investors in hospitals are cashing in on their investments and big corporations are taking advantage of the situation to strengthen their foothold in the health care sector.

“Corporations are organized for profit, and they are buying up hospitals because the business of treating the sick is highly profitable,” he said.

Defensor said the notice to stockholders issued by the CHMC corporate secretary last June 29 showed that 26 “founding shareholders,” mostly doctors, were selling their 254,800 shares worth P11,068.07 each for a total of P2.8 billion, or P108.5 million per founder.

He added that “common stockholders” were given one month from June 28 or until July 27 to exercise their right of first refusal by buying all the shares or these would be offered to interested buyers. “It’s impossible for us to buy all those founders’ shares. Where will we get P2.8 billion? They have not even given us our stock certificates,” Defensor quoted one doctor-constituent, who is a CHMC shareholder, as complaining.

He said his constituent estimated that there are 300 shareholders, mostly young doctors, who have not been issued their stock certificates since the hospital was founded in 2009.

“They are now studying their legal options,” he said.

He said one rumored interested buyer is the Metro Pacific conglomerate, to which the same group of CHMC doctor-founders sold their 93-percent stake in the larger, 157-bed Marikina Valley Medical Center in 2016 for P993 million.

“I hope that the new owners, whoever they may be, would expand CHMC, modernize it and improve its services for the benefit of its patients who are mostly residents of Quezon City and nearby areas in Caloocan and Bulacan,” he added.

Defensor pointed out that if Metro Pacific buys CHMC, the conglomerate would have at least 15 big hospitals in Metro Manila and the provinces, including Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital in

Muntinlupa City, Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City, and Davao Doctors Hospital in Davao City.