Raul C. Pagdanganan: how an accountant found success in the medical field

Raul C. Pagdanganan: how an accountant found success in the medical field

The study of Accountancy was first established in the Philippines through the Accountancy Act of 1923 exactly 100 years ago. To commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime milestone, the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy (BOA) awarded 100 of the most excellent certified public accountants (CPA) who have shown untarnished integrity and reputation and have greatly contributed to the advancement of the accountancy profession in the country in the last 100 years.

Among the awardees was Mr. Raul C. Pagdanganan, President and CEO of Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) – a hospital. “A medical institution is certainly not the first place you would expect a certified public accountant to be leading,” Pagdanganan said. “But I firmly believe it was my calling.”

Pagdanganan had wanted to be a doctor, which was why he enrolled in the Bachelor of Zoology program at the University of the Philippines (UP). He ended up shifting to the College of Business Administration instead, and finished his Business Administration and Accountancy degree in 1981, passing the board exam as part of the top 20 successful takers.

Since then, Pagdanganan has worked as a senior finance executive and member of senior  management committees in different companies and industries. In July 2021, he became a member of the UP Board of Regents.

However, destiny led him right back to what he initially wanted to pursue – healthcare. “My first foray into healthcare started when I was engaged by Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings – now Metro Pacific Health – as a financial consultant in the due diligence of Delos Santos Medical Center, which they were hoping to acquire,” Pagdanganan said. “After the acquisition, I was appointed its President and CEO.”

The appointment made Pagdanganan the very first CPA to manage a private tertiary hospital. The following years saw him in a concurrent capacity become Chairman of the Board and CEO of Jesus Delgado Memorial Hospital and member of the Board of Directors of Marikina Valley Medical Center.

Eventually, he was appointed President and CEO of CSMC in September 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a challenge that put Pagdanganan’s expertise to the test. “There is no textbook for the pandemic, but being an accountant helped me in identifying the risks and opportunities that allowed the hospital to survive and move forward,” Pagdanganan recounted.

Under Pagdanganan’s leadership, CSMC was able to immediately secure financial preparedness and sustainability, particularly in working capital and supply chain management. Pagdanganan also rallied the CSMC team to immediately focus on operational adaptability and digital transformation.

“Cardinal Santos is, no doubt, one of the most reputable hospitals in the country, with doctors who have the most loyal patients because of their clinical expertise. Having said that, a hospital cannot survive on clinical acumen alone,” Pagdanganan said. “Healthcare has expanded to incorporate standardization into work processes, technologies, analytics and automation. My expertise in Accountancy allowed us to use financial data, to bring greater efficiency to the revenue cycle for the hospital and its people.”

Pagdanganan’s leadership has certainly helped boost CSMC’s reputation as one of the Philippines’ leading hospitals in the fields of Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology and more. In fact, he was honored last year with the Dangal ng Lipi Award for Health, the highest award given by the provincial government of Bulacan. In 2018, he was awarded with the Rotary Golden Wheel Award for Good Governance in Hospital Administration by the Rotary International District 3780. 

“Becoming a CPA takes intention and effort, but the rewards for joining a profession known for its trustworthiness and rigor are numerous for those who meet the requirements,” said Pagdanganan. “It is also not as linear as one may think. Accountants today are sitting in key positions in corporate boardrooms, conducting high-level government auditing work, strategic planning and financial management and leading the growing field of environmental, social, governance and healthcare work where CPAs help identify businesses’ social impact.”

Pagdanganan was presented with many opportunities throughout his life that he believes led him to where he is today – achieving a decent level of success as the head of one of the finest hospitals in the country.

“There is a poem by Robert Frost that I really like, which I believe describes my situation perfectly. I had dreamt of becoming a doctor, but I chose to take up Accountancy instead. And yet, I was led back to healthcare through my perseverance and dedication to this field,” Pagdanganan shared. “To quote Frost, ‘I took the road less traveled by, and that, I think, has made all the difference.’”

For more details about the programs and services that CSMC offers, please visit https://cardinalsantos.com.ph/. CSMC is also on Facebook, like and follow them at www.facebook.com/CardinalSantos.

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