Davao City’s dialysis is PHL’s cheapest; migration noted among kidney patients

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 February) – Hospitals and wellness centers here offer the country’s cheapest dialysis treatment, but a medical director of an upstart wellness center also warned of the increasing number of kidney patients, including many diabetics.

Hospitals and medical centers would charge P1,950 for a two to three times a week treatment to a kidney patient who is not enrolled in PhilHealth. With PhilHealth privileges, charges would dive to as low as the current rate of P800 per session.

This discounted rate is the cheapest in the country, and doctors disclosed that many families from the Visayas have either rented houses for their patients or have moved here.

Three hospitals here that have a total of 93 machines are offering dialysis treatment, said Dr. Michael Manalaysay, medical director of the recently opened La Vie Dialysis Center at the FTC Towers in the downtown area.

He said that the cheap rate was started in the 1990’s by the late Dr. Gerardo Cunanan, chief of hospital of the Davao Medical Center, now renamed the Southern Philippine Medical Center.

“Now all hospitals have to go down to that price to stay competitive,” Manalaysay said.

The SPMC and the Davao Nephrology Center were the main dialysis treatment centers, with La Vie joining in with 38 machines or stations.

The dialysis machines would be easily overworked as the number of kidney patients at the end-stage renal disorder, or kidney failure, was also observed to be increasing gradually at the rate of 3.9 percent. As of the third quarter last year, hospitals recorded 2,134 patients.

“What is troubling us also is the number of young patients already suffering from diabetes. In five to ten years, expect the number of kidney patients to increase,” he said, saying diabetes leads to heart and kidney diseases, among others.

If untreated, he warned, “two thirds of these diabetic patients would go for dialysis”.

“That will make this number of dialysis machines in the city lacking to treat the potential big number of kidney patients,” many of whom “are not residents of this city but come from many other places, including the Visayas,” he warned.

Dialysis is a process of removing blood from an artery (as of a kidney patient), purifying it, adding vital substances, and returning it to a vein. (MindaNews)