UST HOSPITAL Chief Executive Officer Fr. Julius Paul Factora, O.P. has announced that the hospital would soon open its own coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing laboratory.

The testing laboratory will be capable of conducting reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, the most accurate test in detecting coronavirus particles.

“[A]fter weeks of consultations with our lawyers [and] various revisions of the memorandum of agreement […] I’m glad to let you know that it is on its final revision and subject to the approval of the board of trustees […] within two months’ time we will have our own RT-PCR testing laboratory,” Factora said in his “State of the Hospital Address” at the UST Medicine Auditorium on Oct. 26.

The hospital was also able to bring down the cost of the test to P5,000 per swab per patient from P8,000, with results released after three to four days, he said.

Factora said that a few days after he assumed office, he looked for ways to make RT-PCR tests available as the hospital did not have “proper artillery to face Covid-19 head-on.”

“[W]ith the leadership of our medical director, in less than a week,  we were [able] to talk to a company that was willing to invest — that means zero cost for the hospital — and provide our very own RT-PCR laboratory,” he said.

The testing laboratory would be housed in a trailer truck to be parked outside the hospital, he said.

Factora said the hospital had increased its capability to conduct swab tests.

“We have finalized a deal and [signed] with different diagnostic centers that are willing to take in our patient specimen for Covid testing,” he said.

The hospital management recognized that having its own RT-PCR laboratory was a “must and a social responsibility,” he added.

Other matters discussed by Factora were the opening of the new hospital building, implementation of new policies and the purchase of a new line of machines.

The “State of the Hospital Address” marked Factora’s 100th day in office.

Factora, regent of the College of Nursing, took over as hospital CEO from Fr. Manuel Roux, O.P. last July 17 in a leadership revamp.

Dr. Charito Malong-Consolacion, a nursing professor, was named medical director while pulmonologist Dr. Julius Caesar Dalupang was named assistant medical director.


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