Hub and I met Chairman Eph and some doctors at the Shangri-La The Fort brunch time yesterday. Doc Jerry, who was the President of the Cavite Medical Association introduced us to his colleagues who happen to be key influencers in the medical field. Doc Rusty heads the Philippine Hospital Association, while another colleague represents the Philippine Medical Association.

It was a revelatory meeting. I wouldn’t have known their alarming concerns with the bureaucratic system in the government had I not showed up with Hub in that all-male tete-a’-tete. I initially had qualms facing these men since I knew I’d be a square peg in a round hole; nonetheless, that meeting was an eye-opener as well. Never mind if I got to hear some chauvinistic comments from the oldest in the group.

The discussion centered mainly on the docs’ dismay over the turtle-paced payment (or rather the non-payment) of their Philhealth claims from the government. One said they’ve got more than a hundred million peso claim for the three hospitals they run. Oh, what was bothering was that they are now considering declaring a holiday if their concerns are not given due attention. This means that they would begin turning down patients who secure their services under Philhealth. Imagine the repercussions this ‘strike’ would bring—with our poor, suffering kababayans who would be mostly affected. Could government hospitals bear a deluge of patients in their ERs if private hospitals make good their ‘threat?’ What a pain in the neck this will be for the current administration. Prez Duts certainly has another sword of Damocles to deal with.

This long delayed payment to private hospitals certainly has ramifications ultimately in the overall delivery of health services in the country. How would these hospitals be able to sustain their operations if the holes in their pockets get bigger by the day? What about the doctors whose PFs are charged to Philhealth? What is worse, according to them, is that those who run the government healthcare agency responsible for all their woes enjoy insane perks and bonuses. Oh, well.
Hub says the main issue with the government is its seeming adversarial stance against private businesses—in any field. Businessmen in the country go through the eye of a needle before government regulatory bodies. Instead of being facilitative, they are always on the lookout for reasons to make business operations hard and tedious.

With this backdrop, the entry of the movement into the consciousness of doc Gerry’s colleagues could not have been more auspicious. Doc Rusty says the movement is “providential,” because it is just what they need in this difficult season hospitals and doctors face. This, according to him, is a way where their collective voice can be heard by government decision-makers. He expressed his support, in behalf of the group he represents, for the cause the new movement is espousing which is the advocacy for shared national vision and goals for the country—a specific roadmap for the people upon which electoral decisions may be based. Through this national vision and goals, policy makers and government leaders have a blueprint for their actions that will ultimately benefit the greater good and not the selfish interests of the ambitious lot.

Here’s hoping and praying we will all be properly guided as this new movement begins to take flight to recover our ailing country from the cesspool of desperation and seeming decadence that threatens to overwhelm an already downhearted populace.

As an aside though, the Shang’s ambiance was a welcome respite for one soul fascinated with restrained elegance.

I couldn’t help but imagine what heaven would be like, if there are places and man-made structures in this fallen world that leave me awe-struck.

I will go back there, the soonest.


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