Health and Wellness People and Ideas

CEO Jun Amistoso: From being a busboy to making a hospital patients can trust

By: - March 18, 2022

Navigating the new normal is a challenge, even for hospitals. There is a perceived notion that it is business as usual for the healthcare industry. Little can understand that while a global pandemic brings in a flow of paying customers in hospitals, it’s not enough to pay the bills and protect employees.

AppleOne Medical Group (AMG) is the health and wellness arm of developer AppleOne Properties Inc. (API). | Learn more about AMG here

All businesses, even hospitals like AppleOne Medical Group’s (AMG) Visayas Med Hospital, have been affected by COVID-19. How does one rise above these challenges that have evolved every day since 2020? Visayas Med CEO Jun Amistoso says you can take care of front liners and use the resources that you have to adapt to the situation.

In 2020, hospitals were grappling to keep the COVID situation under control so as not to add to the panic of the public. When Leopoldo “Jun” C. Amistoso, Jr. took on the challenge to become CEO of  Visayas Med Hospital in June of that year, he knew it was not going to be easy. His job was to fight alongside them to keep the hospital afloat, but at the same time, assure that these health care workers have the right space and proper equipment needed to fight COVID-19 and its variants.

A man with a dream and a vision

Jun Amistoso always wanted to be a doctor, but he fell short due to his family’s financial situation. After studying pre-med at Velez College, he proceeded to work for Cebu Plaza Hotel, now known as Marco Polo Hotel Cebu, as a busboy at 19 years old. When he found out that United Labratories, Inc. (Unilab) executive Ely Santos was staying in Cebu Plaza, he knew this was his only shot to work in an industry he so desperately wanted to be part of.  So he asked his boss to assign him directly under Ely Santos’ during his visit to Cebu, and he landed an interview and qualified to be a medical representative for Unilab. This opportunity did not only bring Jun as close as it could be to his dream of being a doctor, but it also was a stepping stone that led him to where he was meant to be today—hospital management.

Visayas Med Hospital CEO Jun Amistoso.| Contributed Photo

Jun’s first hospital management stint was with Asian Hospital and Medical Center as senior director for execom in 2008. His career before focused on sales and marketing so he was the perfect man for the job to help introduce medical tourism to the world. Medical tourism is when a person travels to another country for medical care so hospitals are treated like medical attractions where you’re treated and cared for like a patient and a tourist. While medicine and tourism sounded like they were worlds away, Jun saw its potential because he believed that patients should be pampered, taken care of, and should be given hospitality that would be worth the bill.

“How can I be an ambassador of compassionate patient care if I cannot even demonstrate this to my people?”, reasoned Jun Amistoso when asked about how he planned to move forward during a global crisis. At the height of the pandemic, Jun Amistoso’s management approach was simple—stick together and fight together. 

Jun brought this concept of medical tourism to Century Properties, Inc. as vice president of business development. One of his responsibilities included conceptualizing the business plan on medical tourism and the overall campaign for destination selling for Centuria Medical Makati. However, while the Philippines did not lack tourism destinations, it did in providing the needed infrastructure to fully pursue medical tourism. 

Compassion is key

“How can I be an ambassador of compassionate patient care if I cannot even demonstrate this to my people?”, reasoned Jun Amistoso when asked about how he planned to move forward during a global crisis. At the height of the pandemic, Jun Amistoso’s management approach was simple—stick together and fight together. 

Instead of seeing it as an obstacle to overcome, Jun saw this crisis as an opportunity to demonstrate “compassionate management”. He likened the situation to a sinking ship. While others offloaded people to keep the boat afloat, Jun asked people to stay aboard the sinking ship to help clog the holes. With this analogy, he gathered his staff of 396 employees during a town hall session and urged them to stay with Visayas Med until the situation would get better. He did everything but retrench his people. Jun converted the wards to private rooms to accommodate more patients, he cut down work hours and even took a salary cut himself.

“From where I am right now, I don’t have the state-of-the-art equipment, I don’t have the nice facility, I have practically nothing. I only have people with me. If there’s one thing I can leverage upon, as a resource, [it is] people,” said Jun.

Cebu City is saturated with hospitals. There are 14 hospitals in Cebu City, 7 of which are Level 3 hospitals that offer high-level specialty intervention.

Read more: AppleOne Medical Group solidifies healthcare imprint across VisMin

According to Jun, Visayas Med is a “work in progress” but it has a strong heritage of experience. Visayas Med is rebuilding its name and refurbishing its buildings, but the health care workers in the hospital have been there ever since the hospital was called the Metro Cebu Community Hospital. It’s too young of a hospital to have top notch facilities and complete equipment, but the doctors, nurses, and the workers in Visayas Med have experience, which is hard to get by in a time when health care workers would much rather work abroad than in the Philippines. 

Providing care beyond the compulsory

Visayas Med Hospital is the hospital you trust to care for the people that you love because their people-first principle does not just apply to the doctors, nurses, and health care staff members but also to patients and their families. Jun’s 30 years’ worth of learning and experience in sales, marketing, medical tourism, and hospital management has led him to design the Patient Experience Management Program (PExMan). When asked what it is, Jun says that PExMan is not a department, it is a state of mind, a way of life. 

Visayas Med’s PExMan transcends traditional health care in a way that no matter what role you fulfill in Visayas Med, the staff is trained to be their best every day. Whether it’s lining up to pay hospital bills or moving from one department to another, health care workers in Visayas Med can be trusted to provide care beyond the compulsory because they are taught to be ambassadors of Visayas Med. Providing healthcare is a given, but PExMan guarantees that you leave the hospital with more than a healthy body but also a full heart.

 

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