Beverly Hills Advanced Surgery Institute (BHASI)’s legacy found continuity in the other half of the world, in the wake of the creation of the Philippine Medical Tourism Program, the country’s stepping stone to the development of a medical tourism infrastructure that is distinctly its own and at par with world standards.
The concept of medical tourism in the Philippines was still a decade away when the Beverly Hills Advanced Surgery Institute (BHASI), first opened its doors in Beverly Hills in 1996 to patients seeking safe, state of the art cosmetic surgery.
In the cosmetic surgery capital of the world, BHASI, under the direction of President and CEO Maria Rebujio, blazed a path in the landscape of professional patient care as a multi-specialty center accredited by the California Department of Health Services and Medicare certified by the US Federal Government.
From the beginning, the practice counted as advantages its expert doctors and cutting-edge medical technology, but what ultimately distinguished BHASI from its competitors and sustained it for twelve years was a clear-cut mandate to place patient safety above all. It wasn’t long before its solid presence and its remarkable surgeons caught the eye of American media icons the Oprah Winfrey Show, Extreme Makeover, Dr. 90210, Discovery Channel, The Lifetime Channel The Tyra Banks Show, Montel Williams, Extra, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, CNN’s Larry King Live among others, confirming BHASI’s status as an industry giant.
BHASI’s legacy found continuity in the other half of the world, in the wake of the creation of the Philippine Medical Tourism Program, the country’s stepping stone to the development of a medical tourism infrastructure that is distinctly its own and at par with world standards.
Rebujio cast her gaze towards the country of her roots and set out to realize her goal of providing “the finest outpatient multi-specialty surgical care services in the Philippines,” coincidental to the boom in medical tourism services.
Backed up by the impeccable reputation of its California – based parent company, the Philippine facility, christened Beverly Hills Medical Group (BHMG), has reached unprecedented heights as the largest US based, managed and operated multi-specialty surgery center in Asia—arming the Philippine medical tourism industry with an unrivaled advantage.
A Stable of Firsts
The integrity of services is undiluted, she adds, such that BHMG facilities meets the US “gold standard” for multi-specialty ambulatory surgery centers. The center provides a variety of outpatient surgical procedures in the areas of regenerative medicine, cosmetic surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cosmetic laser and dermatology, general and vascular surgery, gastroenterology, gynecology surgery, otolaryngology, podiatry, orthopedic and sports medicine, pain and cancer pain management, and urology and men’s health. Its cancer pain management program is one of the few venues in the Philippine where cancer sufferers can receive much welcome relief.
The BHMG holds the distinction of being one of only two multi-specialty ambulatory surgery centers in the Philippines licensed by the Department of Health (DOH), the principal agency in the country’s medical tourism drive. It also holds a medical tourism facility accreditation from the Department of Tourism (DOT), and is poised to receive Joint Commission International (JCI) certification.
From its inception, going the easy route was never part of the equation. “We did everything by implementing U.S. Standards,” Rebujio says. “The DOH was so impressed with the policies and procedures we wrote and our adherence to them, that we were issued a license a day after inspection.” The policies extend to dealings with other qualified agencies for ambulance transportation, laboratory work, pathological, bio-medical, pharmaceutical services and medical waste disposal. No costs were spared in the construction of a medical facility that is also part haven. Occupying an expansive space in Manila’s business district, the one-storey facility has four U.S. standard operating rooms and sizeable recovery, treatment, consultation and private waiting rooms. But it is nevertheless a quiet place in the eye of the urban storm, designed to still the fears of the most apprehensive patients. “Any type of surgery is frightening,” Rebujio concedes, “Our place has the atmosphere of a home in a truly professional environment to make our patients comfortable and relaxed.”
Its luminous interiors were fashioned out of high-grade materials from the US, from the aluminum doorframes to the elegant bamboo flooring. Likewise, all the medical equipment, instruments and supplies, down to surgical thread and bandages, are imported from the US. To truly build a US facility, other than concrete and paint, everything was imported from the US.
BHMG takes pride in having operating rooms that rival the best in the world, outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, piped-in gas, and emergency medication, notably Dantrolene to counter malignant hypothermia (an allergic reaction to anesthesia) in emergency cases—“we are the only medical facility in the country that carries the cure for malignant hypothermia. In the event of an emergency, we are fully prepared,” Rebujio says. “We won’t compromise our patient’s safety.”
BHMG also marks a first in the Philippines by being the first and only facility with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) and Laminar Air flow filtration systems, which purify air especially in the operation rooms, maintaining an optimum environment for sterile procedures, and patient health.
The Country’s Best Medical Staff
The excellence of Philippine-trained doctors with medical experience abroad is a strength BHMG has maximized. Over 100 Board Certified Surgeons and over thirty Board Certified Dermatologists practice in the facility. Whether recommended or handpicked, Board Diplomates in their Specialties must apply for accreditation at BHMG which outlines their extensive education and training, board certification, qualification to perform procedures in his or her specialization, sufficient experience in a hospital or medical facility, and membership in a professional medical organization. . “We make sure we have doctors with both the right credentials and compassion,” Rebujio says. “Our doctors have excellent judgment; they will never advise you for surgery if you are at any risk.”
BHMG also takes pride in its highly trained nursing staff. “Our nurses know our U.S. based policies and procedures like the backs of their hands,” Rebujio says. Nurses assigned to the operating rooms are trained in advanced cardiac life support, and the lighter but similarly valuable job of making patients comfortable by accommodating the simplest of requests.
A Response Unparalleled
In the eight months it has been operational, the volume of clients flocking to the BHMG has been unparalleled primarily due to its comprehensive website – www.beverlyhills.ph which features an online chat, receives scores of queries a day and 28,800 hits per month from over 103 countries. Seventy percent of its clients are non local residents or medical tourists seeking less expensive but superior treatment. The costs of surgery, says Rebujio—counting expenses spent to recover in one of the most beautiful tropical settings in the world—are a fraction of US prices. . “We’ve brought the same technology and quality to the Philippines at a fraction of the cost,” Rebujio says.
If plans call for surgery sandwiched in between trips to the beach or rounds of golf, BHMG is happy to oblige. “We work with world-class concierge agencies from all over the world, one of which is Philippine Medical Tourism, Inc. (PMTI), that provide travel needs from A-Z.”. Nothing less can be expected from BHMG—the only company able to infuse the Philippine medical tourism industry, a serious contender in the Asian arena, with a dose of world-class expertise.
The Beverly Hills Medical Group
Maria M. Rebujio is the President and CEO of both Beverly Hills Advanced Surgery Institute, Beverly Hills CA and Beverly Hills Medical Group, Makati City Philippines. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she has over 27 years of management experience in the operation of Multi-Specialty Surgery Centers