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Costa Rica: Medical Tourism at its finest!


Thanks to Medical Tourism,
we predict a good prognosis for Costa Rica tourism
and at a big savings for you!



Medical tourism fair to offer 1,000 jobs in Costa Rica
Tico Times October 08, 2012 - By L. Arias
 Tourism professionals and specialists in plastic surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, nursing and other fields will be among the 1,000 jobs offered at the health tourism fair Expomed 2012.
The fair is organized by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (Promed) and will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Saturday, Oct. 20 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.) at the Children’s Museum in San José. Entry will cost ₡2,500 ($5).
Manpower, a recruitment company, will collect attendee résumés, and participants also will get an access code to enter personal data into the fair’s website.  Résumés will circulate among all registered companies and will be filed in the company’s database.
The fair also will offer visitors a pavilion for getting free basic medical care from different clinics and hospitals.
Organizers will hold free lectures on topics such as marketing, global trends in medical tourism, business opportunities, and college studies in health tourism and medicine.

Medical Tourism Travellers to Costa Rica Share Their Real Life Stories Posted by Marcel Evanson July 2, 2012 in Costa Rica Star/ Health

They saved a lot of money, they received high-quality healthcare care and they enjoyed vacationing in the beach resorts and national parks of Costa Rica.

These were the win-win experiences relayed by three medical travelers during a panel discussion at the recent Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

While each of the individuals traveled for different procedures, all worked through the medical travel facilitator Companion Global Healthcare, a partner of Well-Being Travel. (Well-Being Travel co-sponsored the conference with sister company Travel Market Report.)

Explaining that he has been a medical traveler himself, moderator David Boucher, president of Companion Global Healthcare, jokingly told the audience, “I’m not only president of the Hair Club for Men, I’m a client.”

Hernia leads to a vacation

A long-held desire for a vacation in Costa Rica became an unexpected reality for Ben Schreiner, an early retiree from Bank of America, after he suffered a hernia while working out in a gym. His doctor told him he needed an operation costing $14,000.

Schreiner contacted Global Companion Healthcare and learned that the equivalent procedure in Costa Rica would cost just $3,400. Factoring in the $10,000 deductible he would have paid had he undergone surgery in the U.S., he realized that would translate to a savings of $6,600.“My wife and I figured we could take the money we saved and apply it toward a vacation in a place we had always wanted to visit,” he said. “As it turned out, our experience in Costa Rica exceeded our expectations.”

U.S.-trained surgeon
Schreiner chose an American-trained surgeon at a hospital in the capital city of San Jose. “The hospital was modern, efficient and had the latest technology and a well-trained staff,” he said. “The physical exam I had there was the best I’d ever had.”

After his operation, Schreiner spent five days recovering at a nearby hotel, attended by a nurse whose fee was included in the $3,400 charge. He then went back to the hospital for a follow-up exam and was cleared to travel within Costa Rica.

“We thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said. “We traveled to both the Caribbean and Pacific sides. We went canoeing, visited the national parks where we saw monkeys in the trees. We walked on deserted beaches where we saw sea turtle nests.”

No longer skeptical about receiving medical care overseas, his wife is planning a return visit to Costa Rica for a dermatology procedure, he said.

Second mortgage, or Costa Rica?

When Jeffrey Castle, an Atlanta-based group benefits salesman, learned that he needed to have $37,000 worth of dental work, he realized that “I could either take out a second mortgage on my house or I could go to Costa Rica.”

Castle’s dental work in Costa Rica cost him $10,000, an amount he had in his Health Savings Account. His dentist in Costa Rica was American-trained and a member of the American Dental Association.

After receiving temporary crowns, he enjoyed five days of vacationing at a beach resort where he was able to visit a national park. “Then I went back and received my permanent crowns – all were a perfect fit,” he said.

First international trip

Knee surgery in Costa Rica marked the first-ever international trip for Kathy Marlow from Euless, Texas. The $12,000 procedure – a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S. – included a four-day stay in the hospital.

Marlow never had to return to the hospital after the procedure, as her surgeon came to her hotel room to conduct the post-up checkup.

“This was the best decision I ever made,” she told the audience.

Once cleared for travel, Marlow realized a long-held dream of “putting my feet in the Pacific Ocean.”

Source: Travel Market Report


Monday, April 23, 2012

Costa Rica's Place in Medical Tourism
from www.adullroarblogspot.com

The term coined for traveling outside your home country to obtain health care is medical tourism. The primary motivation of such travellers is to take advantage of lower medical costs with an equal or at least acceptable level of care. In some cases, other countries may have treatments that are not offered in the home country because they are too new or don't have approval by government regulation or by one's insurance carrier, or if they are covered there is an unacceptable wait time for a procedure.

Medical tourism growth in Costa Rica
Whatever the reasons, medical tourism is big business around the world. There are at least 50 countries that try to draw in patients from other countries, including Costa Rica, and large organizations such as the World Medical Tourism Congress hold annual conventions with thousands of attendees. There is at least one magazine, Medical Tourism, devoted to the subject. Right now in San José there is a large conference, Medical Travel Business Summit, whose goal is to make it even easier for those seeking medical care here to take advantage of the offerings in a coordinated way.

Popular procedures sought include orthopedic surgery (e.g. knee or hip replacement), cardiac surgery (e.g. bypass), reproductive assistance (e.g. in-vitro fertilization), plastic surgery, and high-cost dental treatments such as crowns, bridges, and implants. More recently drug and alcohol detox services are becoming popular along with "wellness therapy", represented for example by yoga or massage retreats located in jungles or near hot springs. A full list of what is offered in terms of medical services can be seen at the Promed Business Directory.

Knowing what private dental care costs here in Costa Rica I often tell potential visitors who are concerned about the high cost of air travel that getting something like a new bridge or dental veneers here (usually not fully covered by insurance) will probably more than pay for the plane ticket. The dentists here are more than competent and usually have the latest dental technology.

Coincident with that conference in San José this week, premier newspaper La Nacion, printed an article about what Costa Rica, already well-known for its inexpensive and quality care, is doing or could be doing to increase its appeal as a top medical tourism destination. Though there are companies (e.g. Costa Rica Medical Care), that help facilitate visits, the level and coordination of all services required (such as travel agents, medical laboratories, housing, transport within the country, and of course the clinics and hospitals) can be uneven. Since there is intense competition for the billions of dollars spent annually by medical tourists (the industry employs about 20,000 in Costa Rica), it behooves the providers and facilitators to get their acts together to make it an experience as seamless as possible.

Also, critically important, is that seekers of medical services feel confidence in the level of services and infrastructure provided. Just because procedures in Costa Rica average 30% to 70% lower that in the States, naysayers often unthinkingly criticize the concept with "you get what you pay for". Thus, accreditation is vital and usually provided for by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Organizations (JCI), a U.S.-based non-profit. Currently, Costa Rica has three JCI accredited hospitals in San José.

Medical tourism is not without risks, of course. Most importantly, laws that give a patient who feels that he or she was the victim of malpractice differ greatly from one country to another. Even if the laws are solid the actual legal process may be too onerous for one to complete in a reasonable time.

For those who have concerns I think the best suggestion (as with other research on Costa Rica) is to come and give it a try. Start small, say, by visiting a recommended dentist for a procedure for which your insurance doesn't pay for or fully cover (I can recommend two without reservation here in Pérez Zeledón) and see if the experience is something to which you could adjust. Meanwhile, make sure to take some time for "wellness therapy" by taking advantage of the scenery, climate, and good-natured folks here in the Tropics.


Costa Rica is preparing for the 2012 Medical Travel International Business Summit in April.

Is corporate medical tourism the next niche?
Tico Times February 10, 2012 - By Ashley Harrell

For its proximity to the United States, well-trained health professionals, and lower-cost, high-quality health services, Costa Rica has long attracted tens of thousands of medical tourists.
The medical tourism numbers for 2011 won’t be out until April, but the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) did give The Tico Times a preview of one main focus this year and next: corporate medical tourism. As companies like PepsiCo Inc. have started providing employees with travel surgery benefits, PROMED has aimed to position Costa Rica as a prime destination.

In 2011, PROMED staff visited more than 15 medical tourism providers in the country, and provided them with tools and training. The privately owned nonprofit, which is responsible for promoting Costa Rican medical care internationally, also organized eight tours of insurance companies, self-funded employers, insurance brokers and benefit managers.

PROMED Executive Director Massimo Manzi pointed out that Costa Rica now has 28 internationally accredited clinics, the most of any country in Latin America. The clinics have been accredited by one of three bodies: Joint Commission International, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Additionally, PROMED and the Costa Rican Tourism Board are preparing for the 2012 Medical Travel International Business Summit, which will take place in the western San José suburb of Escazú April 23-25.
In 2011, PROMED reported that the summit generated 1,000 appointments and opportunities in aesthetics, orthopedics and diabetes treatment. This year, the summit is set to facilitate more than 1,000 business meetings between 75 international medical-care buyers and 75 medical-care suppliers in Costa Rica.

“For the third time, Costa Rica will host the biggest event of medical tourism in Latin America,” said Tourism Minister Allan Flores. “We’ll have eminent personalities and experts in public health issues, patient safety and marketing of services.”

In addition to the summit, Costa Rica has bid for the 2013 Self-Insurance Institute of America International Conference.

The timing of these events is ideal, Manzi said, pointing to a new Pepsi program that connects employees with Johns Hopkins Hospital in the U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, for cardiac and complete joint-replacement surgeries. Pepsi’s travel-surgery benefit is currently being offered only to domestic employees and their dependents – in total, about 250,000 people – but Manzi said the cost-effectiveness of sending employees to other countries for health services will eventually win out.

“Costa Rica is … attracting the attention of North American corporations, insurance companies, and administrators of private and self-insured corporations impressed by the quality and affordability of the nation’s health care,” Manzi said. “The progress of the corporate medical travel market is probably good news for us all.”

PROMED is still accepting registrations for the 2012 Medical Travel Summit at the Real InterContinental Hotel in Escazú. Registration is $400 for PROMED members and $450 for nonmembers.
Online registration is available at www.themedical travelsummit.com/event-registration.



Costa Rica to Host Global Medical Tourism Conference April 20, 2011

Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable development and eco-friendly tourism, will lead the world once again as it hosts the 2011 Medical Travel International Business Summit May 2-4, 2011in San José and Guanacaste provinces.

The Summit will begin May 2-3 with a series of roundtable discussions and expert lectures at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel Convention Center in the capitol city of San José. On May 4, conference attendees will travel to the Hilton Papagayo Hotel in the North Pacific province of Guanacaste, where they will participate in medical tourism training workshops, and learn about medical tourism projects in this rapidly growing province.

“While more than 500 attendees have already confirmed for this global conference, we welcome ‘last minute’ registrations from insurance companies, human resource professionals and corporate representatives to discover the incredible opportunities in Latin American medical tourism,” said Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED.

Why is Medical Tourism Important for Americans?
Currently, 49 million U.S. citizens are not covered by medical insurance and 108 million Americans do not have even basic dental insurance. By 2015, it is estimated that the U.S. will spend 20% of its GNP on medical services, while a staggering 25% of the population will still lack medical insurance.

Medical tourism represents a critical lifeline to uninsured Americans that cannot afford medical care in the U.S, as well as those seeking advanced medical procedures that are not available in U.S hospitals. Medical procedures in many Latin American destinations, including Costa Rica, are routinely one-third the cost of the same procedure in the U.S. Low cost, high quality medical care within a short flight from most major U.S gateways makes medical tourism an important link for those in need of affordable medical procedures and health care.

What Makes Costa Rica a Leader in Medical Tourism?
Costa Rica first gained prominence as a medical hot spot when American citizens began to travel to this popular Central American nation for inexpensive medical procedures… generally 50%-70% less expensive than the same procedures in the US. Medical tourism gained in popularity in Costa Rica as thousands of happy patients returned to the US and spread the word about their high-quality care, English-speaking doctors, and their incredible tropical vacation, all for a fraction of the price of the same procedures in the US. Inexpensive airfares and Costa Rica’s location only 3-6 hours by plane from most major U.S gateways has made Costa Rica one of the top medical tourism destinations for North Americans. In fact, some 30,000 “health & medical tourists” visited Costa Rica in 2009.

The most popular medical tourism procedures are:
• Dentistry (36%)
• Orthopedics, Bariatric & Cardiovascular (22%)
• Cosmetic Procedures (12%)
• General Medical Treatments (14%).

Costa Rica Medical Costs vs U.S. Costs:
Tico Times This post was written by adminon December 28, 2009
Cost of Medical Treatment in Costa Rica can be a 70% saving
from that of the U.S.
With the cost of medical on the rise, medical tourists from the United States, Canada and Europe should definitely compare the cost of medical treatment in Costa Rica to what it would cost at home. You can reach Costa Rica from just about everywhere in the U.S. and Canada in 12 hours or less; from Europe in well under a day. Costa Rica has eminently qualified doctors, excellent hospitals, attractive recovery centers, affordable costs, and provides an opportunity for a memorable vacation. Places like Costa Rican Medical Tours offer package deals for both vacation and treatment.
Here are just a couple of reasons why Costa Rica is becoming a desire place to have medical treatment.

  • The cost of medical treatment in Costa Rica can range from a third to even a fourth of what it can cost in the United States and Canada.
  • As required by law, medical practitioners carry liability insurance at all times, giving patients protection and coverage from malpractice.
  • Language will not be a barrier because, along with the doctors, the hospital staff, recovery center staff and tourist industry personnel, as well as a surprisingly high number of Costa Ricans, especially those in their teens, 20s and 30s, can speak English


Medical Procedures USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Heart Bypass Up to $130,000 $24,000 70-80%
Heart Valve Replacement Up to $160,000 $15,000 80-90%
Angioplasty Up to $57,000 $9,000 70-80%
Hip Replacement Up to $43,000 $12,000 60-70%
Hysterectomy Up to $20,000 $4,000 70-80%
Knee Replacement Up to $40,000 $11,000 60-70%
Spinal Fusion Up to $62,000 $25,000 50-60%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery      
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 – $5,000 30-40%
Rhinoplasty $8,000-$12,000 $3,500 – $3,900 50-65%
Breast Lift $5,000-$8,000 $3,000 – $3,400 40-55%
Breast Augmentation $5,000-$8,000 $2,700 – $2,900 50-65%
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) $4,000-$5,500 $2,000 – $2,200 50-60%
Brazilian Butt Surgery Up to $10,000 $3,000 – $3,300 55-65%
Tummy Tuck $6,000-$8,500 $3,900 – $4,200 45-50%
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 – $5,000 35-45%
Male Breast Reduction Up to $6,000 $2000 – $2600 50-60%
Bariatric Surgery      
Laparoscopic Gastroplasty Up to $30,000 $10,500 55-65%
Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Up to $35,000 $14,000 50-60%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry      
Bridges $1,000+ per tooth $250 – $400 per tooth 60-70%
Crowns $1,000+ per tooth $250 – $400 per tooth 60-70%
Implants $3,500+ per tooth $700 – $900 per tooth 70-80%
Porcelain Veneers $1,500+ per tooth $300 – $500 per tooth 65-80%
Root canal Up to $800 $315 55-60%
Teeth whitening Up to $700 $250 55-65%


Costa Rica Dental Prices:

Costa Rica Dental Costs
Costs for procedures at DentaVac or Dr. Feinzaig’s clinic are a fraction of costs for multiple US treatments. Obtain terrific doctors, fantastic service, reliable procedures and a vacation at a much lower cost! Read all about extremely low prices regarding different treatments. The price for good service and oral procedures doesn't have to be outrageous. Get low prices in Costa Rica..

Cosmetic Dental
Procedures that not only treat oral problems but also improve the appearance of teeth to obtain picture perfect smiles. Experienced cosmetic dentistry surgeons take care of oral cosmetic needs. Contact us to talk about possible treatments and procedures that could fit your specific case and to discuss the cost of cosmetic dentistry procedures. We provide treatments and surgery in Costa Rica at a reasonable price.

Cost starts at $50
* Prices depend on the procedures in question, the cost could include fillings, bleaching, veneers, crowns, porcelain crowns and bridges, etc.

Replace one or more missing teeth from your mouth with bridges, and get back the confidence to smile widely with a new set of teeth. Bridge work and implants are done at our lab. Get temporary and permanent bridges or bridge work repaired. We make removable or fixed bridges and along with the creation of the bridges we give you pointers on bridge care. Bridge costs and prices vary depending on the quantity of teeth that need to be replaced.

Cost: $295 - $495 per tooth
* The cost depends on the number of units included in the bridge and the quality chosen by the customer.

Get crowns fitted in Costa Rica and placed in your mouth, replacing damaged or lost teeth. Crown procedures can use the natural tooth as a post or insert a post if the tooth is too damaged. Get porcelain crowns, gold or porcelain over metal crowns. Dentist's assistance helps you choose the right crown type. Few appointments will provide temporary crowns, and permanent crowns with a resulting beautiful smile. Crown costs vary depending on the teeth that need to be replaced.

Cost: $295 - $495 per tooth
* The cost varies in proportion to the quality chosen by the customer.

Fix cavities or Get filling procedures overseas at reasonable prices. Filling type materials used include silver amalgam (also known as mercury dental filling), gold dental fillings and composite fillings. Ask about getting temporary or permanent fillings in cavities. Cost varies depending on size of filling and type of filling material.

Cost: $75 - $150
* Costs vary according to the quality selected by the client.


Implants replace damaged or deteriorated teeth. Dentavac can offer cosmetic implants at an affordable cost. Read about implant solutions we offer regarding cosmetic, dentures, permanent and temporary implants. Receive implants with quality procedures, surgeons and technicians at reasonable prices. Ask about the dental implant prices.

Cost: $750 - $950
* Dental implant cost depends on the type of dental implant, cost does not include the crown or the fixture on top of the implants.


Surgery procedures in Costa Rica with DentaVac oral health clinic at a reasonable price. Get periodontic surgery, implants, and root canal procedures with experienced surgeons trained in the top techniques of oral restoration technology.

Cost: $100 - $650
* Cost differs in accordance with the type of surgery being carried out.


Get custom dentures made and fitted in San Jose Costa Rica. Dentures and mouth pieces you can rely on are made by specialists at a reasonable price. Get partial dentures and full implanted dentures to improve your oral health and jaw line. We offer different types of dentures including soft, partial, implants, fixed and more, depending on your needs. Dentists at DentaVac will study your case and make comfortable and long lasting dentures.

Cost: $160 - $500
* Dentures cost changes in relation to the type of dentures.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneer procedures are meant to cover damaged or stained teeth. Dentavac will make veneer inlays at their lab so you can quickly have the treatment you need. Cosmetic and health benefits await with your new cosmetic dentistry veneers at affordable costs. You can get your tooth inlays, crown veneers and porcelain veneers made and placed in San Jose Costa Rica. Porcelain laminates gives a polished, natural appearing result that effectively masks stains.

Cost: $395 - $495 per tooth
* Porcelain veneers cost fluctuates accordingly with the quality and is set per unit.

Root Canal

Root canal procedures and nerve treatments in Costa Rica. Root canal treatment is needed mostly when the nerve of a tooth is infected and antibiotics are no longer a solution, the nerve needs to be extracted. Dentavac offers root canal surgery and other treatments at a reasonable price. This treatment usually takes two to four appointments depending on that tooth that it is taken place, and most of the times no pain is involved, only in those cases that the infection has gotten out of hand.

Cost: $300 - $350
* Root canal cost depends on the dental piece.

Tooth Whitening

You and your dentist at will decide together if you are good candidate for tooth whitening. The dentist will take impressions of upper and lower teeth. These impressions will be used to fabricate custom fitted whitening gel trays for you to place over the teeth. This procedure will take approximately 45 minutes. Zoom tooth whitening system in Costa Rica is offered at a more reasonable price than in the USA. Whitening procedures will improve your self esteem as you find yourself smiling more after the professional tooth whitening procedure.

Cost: $180 - $350
* Price depends on the type of whitening being carried out.


Costa Rica: More than Cosmetic & Dental Surgery

Sep 12, 2007 - Editor Medical Tourism Magazine

Costa Rica not only has universal health care, but Costa Rica is considered to have one of the best health care systems in all of Latin America The government runs more than 30 hospitals and 250 clinics. The Costa Rican health care system has been in existence for almost 60 years.

Most Americans are shocked to find out that Costa Rica has been rated higher by the World Health Organization than the US, and in the last 2000 WHO report the United States rated 37, below Singapore and Costa Rica.


What exactly does one have to do to become a physician in Costa Rica? Like doctors in the US, medical doctors in Costa Rica receive formal university training followed by a postgraduate residency program. The latter ensures that they have extensive practice knowledge in their specialty. In addition, all medical physicians must meet general requirements to be a member of the Costa Rican Doctors’ and Surgeons’ Association (Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos ~ medicos@racsa.co.cr). Dentists, on the other hand, are certified by the Costa Rican Surgeons and Dentists Association (dentista@racsa.co.cr).

Obtaining a medical degree in Costa Rica requires some undergraduate studies in the field of medical and a graduate degree in medicine. It takes six years at the National University of Costa Rica to obtain a graduate medical degree but even then a doctor is not ready for practice. A prospective doctor must complete a Doctorate Title in Medicine and one year of social service at one of the Social State Hospitals.

For postgraduate residency, the amount of time spent in the various programs depends on the specialty field. For instance, plastic surgeons are required to complete an extra eight years of post-graduate residency study. Four of those years is spent in general surgery and the following four years in plastic surgery, for a total of fourteen years of study before becoming a plastic surgeon. Endocrinologist must perform another two to four years to become a specialist and a doctor must spend five to seven years just to qualify in general medicine.


The University of Costa Rica requires students who applying for a nursing degree to perform aptitude exams with a score of 700 or more to quality. The private universities, however do not require this exam. It takes from three to four years for a nurse to graduate and four to five years to graduate as a licensed nurse. To qualify with a masters in nursing, a nurse will spend the three to fours years and then one year licensed, and then another one and a half years on top of that to get the masters degree. In order to work, nurses need a Costa Rican Accreditation Title and must be affiliated with the School of Nurses of Costa Rica. All other nurse titles require accreditation from the Nurses School of Costa Rica.

While Costa Rica has a public healthcare system, it has a growing private health care system which is starting to focus on attracting Americans to Costa Rica for medical care above and beyond the prior reputation for inexpensive cosmetic and dental surgery. Costa Rica is now becoming known for surgeries such as Hip replacements, back or spinal surgeries and knee replacements. In fact, laboratory materials are all FDA approved and shipped in from the United States.

For Americans traveling to Costa Rica for medical care the healthcare is quite affordable. Many of their doctors not only speak English but also have received training in the United States, Canada or Europe.

* 2007 Medical Tourism Association Survey. Costs in the U.S. vary based on Location, provider experience, network discounts and many other factors and will be different around the U.S.

The Two main hospitals in Costa Rica are Clinica Biblica and CIMA. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this article, CIMA hospital had not finished completing its hospital floor specifically for medical tourists. CIMA also did not provide written information to the Medical Tourism Association regarding its hospital and other items such as infection rates. We hope to include information about CIMA once their new wing has been opened.

Hospital Clinica Biblica, on the other hand, has a dedicated Medical Tourism department of 5 full time employees who speak both English and Spanish and a dedicated floor for medical tourists. The two brothers, Brad and Bill Cook, who run the department, spent some time growing up in the United States and so there clearly is no culture barrier here.

Hospital Clinica Biblica is a private hospital established in 1929 and built by American missionaries. The hospital is affiliated with Tulane University in Louisiana with a capacity of 5,000 outpatients and 120 inpatients per day. Most of the non-Costa Rican patients come from the U.S., Canada and Europe, making up a generous percentage of the 14,400 procedures performed at the hospital each year. At least ten percent of the physicians at Clinica Biblica are U.S. board certified in specialties such as general surgery, orthopedics, cardiac and urology. With its 800 employees, this hospital boasts that all of its nurses are registered nurses and the nurse to patient ratio is approximately four to one and all rooms are private and some are suites.

Clinica Biblica is almost completely through the lengthy and arduous process of JCI accreditation. It has spent thousands of dollars in training all its employees in resuscitation techniques approved by the American Heart Association. Even the janitors are certified! There are state of the art voice activated video surgery rooms and high tech infection prevention architecture reducing the infection rate at Hospital Clinica Biblica to less than three percent compared to the high infection rates found in American hospitals.


Clínica Bíblica Hospital meets international quality standards

January 07, 2011 - By Tico Times

Costa Rica’s health care industry is growing exponentially, driven in part by a mixed public and private system that offers top-quality care at affordable costs and a booming health care tourism industry that draws tens of thousands of travelers every year.

But none of this would be possible if health care consumers lacked some sort of oversight agency that could provide the best assurance that the country’s health care products and services are both safe and effective.

That’s where the nongovernmental Joint Commission International (JCI) comes into play. JCI has worked with health care organizations, ministries of health, and global organizations in more than 80 countries since 1994.

More than 300 public and private health care organizations in 39 countries have been accredited by JCI.

In downtown San José, the Clínica Bíblica Hospital, which has witnessed rapid growth in recent years, thanks mostly to foreign patients fleeing from soaring health care costs and lack of coverage back home, is now certified by JCI for the second time in three years. The current accreditation lasts until 2013.

In order to obtain certification, hospitals must pass JCI inspections and comply with high standards.

It’s not surprising that Clínica Bíblica would keep its JCI certification, but it is reassuring for the thousands of patients the hospital treats each year.

“We are very proud of this triumph that benefits our patients,” said Jorge Cortés, Clínica Bíblica’s medical director. “Once again, Costa Rica proves it has one of the best private hospitals in Central America. It also shows our commitment to the public.”

Here are some of the goals hospitals must strive to meet in order to be accredited: better patient care and safety; cost reduction and increased operational efficiency; growth in public confidence; continual improvement of sanitary conditions; education and best practices; increased employee satisfaction and recruitment.

In those unfortunate circumstances that require a visit to the hospital, it’s pretty good to know that caregivers are focusing on all of these important ideas.

For more:see:www.jointcommissioninternational.org and www.clinicabiblica.com.

Costa Rica Offers Good-Quality Health Care

Costa Rica has universal health care, one of the best health systems in Latin America. As always with nationalized health care, expect red tape and long waits, but the quality of Costa Rica's health care is excellent. Private health care is also available, very affordable, and high quality. Many doctors speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S.There are three large, private hospitals that most expatriates use: CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clinica Biblica in San José, and Clinica Católica in San José-Guadalupe.

Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy, often even ahead of Great Britain and the United States, even though the per-capita income of Costa Ricans is about one-tenth that of the U.S. and the U.K. Arguably, one reason for this is the slower pace of living in Costa Rica. And, of course, the healthy, fresh, non-preservative-laden foods found there, and the welcoming tropical climate. Costa Ricajust seems to be a healthy place to live.

Costa Rica's Government-Run Health Care System

With a government-sponsored network of more than 30 hospitals and more than 250 clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low-cost health care services to the Costa Rican populace. Although sometimes overburdened, this system has worked well for Costa Ricans for the past 60 or so years. Open not just to Costa Rican residents, the CCSS provides affordable medical service to any foreign resident or visitor. Foreigners living in Costa Ricacan join the CCSS by paying a small monthly fee--based on income--or they can buy health insurance from the state monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS), valid with over 200 affiliated doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in the private sector.


Ahh, Costa Rica! Pristine coastlines, lush rain forests and cheap hip replacements.

March 03, 2010 by Mario Correa, Travel Weekly Destination Features

That's right: You can now add cut-rate medical care to the list of attractions being touted to lure visitors to Central America's most popular tourist destination.

"Costa Rica's health system is one of the best in the continent," Ricardo Benavides, the nation's then-tourism minister, boasted at Costa Rica's Expotur confab in 2009. And efforts to promote medical tourism -- where visitors travel for the express purpose of seeking medical care -- would be central to helping Costa Rica's travel-reliant economy ride out a still-sluggish global tourism market, Benavides added.

To wit: In April, Costa Rica will host the first International Congress on Medical Tourism and Welfare in Latin America, and Promed, a private entity tasked specifically with promoting the nation's medical providers, has been launched.

But although Costa Ricahas long competed with destinations such as Indiaand Thailandfor Americans seeking lower-cost cosmetic surgeries, it's the market for major, nonelective care -- orthopedics, heart surgery, even stem cell therapies -- where local providers see the biggest growth potential.

"It used to be all about plastic surgery," said Dr. Ivan Kafarela, a physician with the privately owned Costa Rica Emergency Medical Service. "Now it's about necessities."

Indeed, with U.S.medical costs ballooning and health reform efforts in Washingtonstalled, Costa Rica, which has long benefited from both its proximity to the U.S.and a reputation for friendliness toward Americans, may see an opening.

"Hip replacement here costs $15,000, instead of $30,000 in the United States," said Kafarela, whose service provides private emergency care to foreign visitors and expats. "Gastric-bypass surgery is about $25,000 to $40,000 in the U.S., while it's $10,000 to $15,000 here."

But although the costs of Costa Rican health care might seem cut-rate, the quality of services can be comparable to that in U.S.institutions, added Kafarela.

"Our doctors are generally trained overseas, and we work with the best hospitals," he said.

Several Costa Rican hospitals are frequently recommended by U.S.-based "medical tourism facilitators," and they offer resort-like accommodations for their foreign guests. But it's the affordability of care, not the luxurious rooms or free phone calls home, that is piquing interest in the States.

"The policy would say, 'If you choose to have your procedure overseas, there will be no copay, no deductible, and we will pay for you and a companion to fly to your destination and stay for two weeks,'" said Joel Bragen, COO of the New York-based Medical Tourism Partners. Bragen's company aims to craft health insurance policies for U.S.employers that contain lower-cost options for overseas care. (A number of major insurance carriers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare, are conducting their

Medical Tourism Partners' Bragen, on the other hand, cautioned that it's too early to bet on the success of Costa Ricaor any other nation in the medical tourism business. His company, he said, has struggled to convince American patients that overseas medical care is both safe and reliable.

"People are so fearful of going under the knife in a foreign country," he said. "We've found that it is only when people are desperate that they are willing to consider going overseas."

An Interview with Hospital Clinica Biblica’s Brad Cook
By Sarah Martin published online: Mar 9, 2010

Hospital Clinica Biblica is one of the most well known hospitals in Latin America. Brad Cook is one of the major reasons why the hospital has been receiving the lion’s share of international patients to Costa Rica.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Costa Rica at Hospital Clinica Biblica of US parents. I had quite an adventurous childhood growing up between Costa Rica, the United Statesand Brazil, never quite knowing where home was. After finishing High School in Costa Rica, I moved to Michiganwhere I not only managed to survive the harsh winters but received my degree from CalvinCollege. After graduation I was not quite sure where to call home and finally concluded I would be best served avoiding another Michiganwinter and returning to Costa Ricawhere my parents and siblings had settled down.

I spent my first three or four years there running and developing a scuba business with a business partner before finally settling down at Hospital Clinica Biblica. After a few years of business development, I was able to develop my own company within the hospital running all the International Insurance Billing and developing the Medical Tourism Project for the hospital as the Director of the International Department.

Please explain your role at Hospital Clinica Biblica in Costa Rica.

My company runs the International Department for the hospital and our duties include assisting foreign patients, billing all the international insurance claims for the hospital and doctors and coordinating and developing the hospital’s Medical Tourism project.

What kind of growth have you seen in Medical Tourism in the last few years?

We were quite concerned initially that the financial crisis would have a negative impact on the number of patients visiting our hospital and even though there was an initial decrease things quickly returned to normal and are now on the upswing. Overall there seems to be quite a bit of momentum building in regards to medical tourism as we have seen increased interest from insurance companies and employers to research and implement Medical Tourism. I think the financial crisis and health care debate raging in the UShave brought heightened awareness to medical tourism and are acting as a catalyst that could catapult the entire industry forward.

What do you see as one of the biggest growth potentials for medical tourism in the future?

Due to the high costs for healthcare in the US I see the biggest potential growth coming from US insurance companies and employers as they look to lower costs by taking advantage of the huge savings and high quality available at top hospitals overseas. Gradually, the barriers to traveling overseas have been coming apart at the seams and I believe it is only a matter of time before large insurance carriers and employers include an international component to their plans. Tell us why there is so much potential growth for medical tourism in Latin America.

The most obvious reason initially is our proximity to the United Statesand the overall comfort level visitors feel, along with the familiarity with the Latin American culture and its beauty. More important however, is the fact that we truly have some great hospitals and healthcare systems in our region that offer exceptional care at a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere. Add to this the fact that our culture is much more relational which means that doctors, nurses and recovery hotel staffs invest the time and energy necessary to build relationships and trust with patients.

HCB has a reputation of treating patients like royalty. What does HCB do that is different and sets itself apart?

There is not one thing that sets us apart but a combination of a lot of little things that have a huge overall impact on the patient’s experience.

We definitely pride ourselves on making our patients feel special and the key to this has really been having a process in place so every detail is covered and the patient can arrive, relax and focus on their surgery and recovery. We have put together an exceptional International Patient Program that walks the patient through the entire process from their initial email all the way to the follow up that occurs once they return home. Key in all of this is responding to the prospective patient quickly and with the proper information that allows the patient to make an informed decision.

Our team includes a phenomenal group of physicians that speak English fluently and are committed to lavishing extra attention on our patients to ensure that they are truly comfortable with the entire experience. On top of this, our patient coordinators support the patient with rapid responses to their emails and phone calls and by ensuring they are available for questions through the entire process. They often become like extended family for the patient during their medical visit.

We also have an association of recovery retreats and inns in Costa Rica that provide amazing options and amenities for the patient to recuperate in after their surgery. It is also encouraging to international patients that most of our staff are from the United States or have at the very least resided there at some point in their life, so they not only speak the language but are familiar with the North American culture and the high expectations of American patients.

There seems to be a disconnect, where some hospitals are doing really well attracting foreign patients, while other hospitals or clinics are not having the same success. Where are these other hospitals going wrong?

Obviously there are many internal and external factors that influence whether or not your hospital is successful at attracting foreign patients.

As the head of an International Program, you can work to change the perception of your country as an attractive or safe destination; however, you cannot change your location on the map.

The greatest disconnect I see occurs when hospitals claim they are committed to attracting foreign patients but then do not follow through and put the necessary internal elements in place to build and sustain a successful program.

Often, we hear patients and facilitators comment that they chose our hospital simply because we were able to respond to them quickly and effectively in their native language providing the kind of relevant information they were seeking.

This entire process demands time and consistency and requires a considerable amount of commitment on behalf of the hospital. It is vital for any top hospital who wants to be a serious player in medical tourism to have a fully-functioning international patient program or department that understands the market they are trying to attract. In essence the International Department is the face of the hospital when it comes to promoting its medical tourism services. In concert with the International Department the hospital must have several other essential elements in place such as a dynamic team of physicians who are truly committed to the program, a website that can easily be translated into other languages for accessibility to international patients, along with information on your hospital, doctors, procedures and packages. The International Department must also be able to coordinate a variety of concierge type services such as transportation, recovery facilities and interesting, local tours for patients and companions.

In a nutshell you must deliver the total package to your prospective patients because they become your greatest marketing ally once they return home; word spreads quickly in this industry.

About the Author
Sarah Martin is the Global Communications Director for the Medical Tourism Association and is also a Contributing Editor for both Medical Tourism Magazine and Health Tourism Magazine, as well as a regular author for both publications. Although being new to this industry, she is passionate about the idea of a global network of healthcare providers.


Costa Rica Health Care Making Investments for Foreign Retirees

Costa Rica cutting through the red tape of health care developments
The Costa Rican government is promoting a Costa Ricahealth care assistance plan to help developers build projects centered on Costa Ricahealth care facilities for foreign retirees. The help is in the form of facilitating the processes at the different ministries involved with health care related property investments.

New property developments would offer clusters of Costa Ricahealth care services, including nursing and research facilities, catering to senior citizens looking for an inexpensive alternative to medical care in their own countries

In the wake the global economic slowdown, Costa Ricahealth care centers are an opportunity for developers to “change strategy,” Minister for Competitiveness and Regulatory Improvement George Woodbridge told La Prensa.

Retirement communities generate “two to three times” the revenue of traditional tourism and real estate projects, Woodbridgesaid. A population of 10,000 retirees could produce 40,000 jobs and $340 million in foreign exchange, the government estimates.


Costa Rica Health Care for Everyone

But development for this demographic does not mean the general population will be excluded. While the motivation for investing in the Costa Ricahealth care infrastructure is based on attracting the USretirement population, all other residents whether on vacation or living here can use the same Costa Rican healthcare facilities for themselves. Once an infrastructure is in place, along with the processes for getting permission from the Costa Rican government to build and offer health care services, many other health related companies will begin investing in Costa Rica. Right now, to open a health care related business the required red-tape process is choking these investments and now it looks that the Costa Ricagovernment will do its part to alleviate this.

Last year, medical tourism attracted 30,000 visitors to Costa Rica, according to government data. That number is expected to increase as health care costs continue to rise. The U.S.is expected to generate 1.3 million medical tourists in 2011, according to a report by the DeloitteCenterfor Health Solutions, which ranks Costa Rica HealthCare in the top 10 destinations for medical tourism.

Until recently, most of the traffic in the past has been young people looking for cosmetic surgery and dental work, not seniors, Deloitte says.

“With health care at the center of attention in the U.S.this concept could certainly gain ground if implemented properly,” Panamadeveloper Sam Taliaferro notes in his Panama Investor Blog. “If Obamacare gets legs one area that you can be sure will be left out in the cold is alternative health care practitioners. I bet they will head south with technology and skills.”

(For the record, the World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica’s health care system at 36th in the world, one spot ahead of the United States.)


Dentistry in Costa Rica

Dentistry is overseen by the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Costa Rica. Dentists complete 6 year courses from the University of Costa Rica in D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or similar courses from various private universities. Costa Rica is often cited as being one of the top ten countries in the world for medical tourism, including dentistry.

Costa Rican Medical Care promotes Health Care Savings 
June 21, 2010 PRWeb

Lake Geneva, WI PRWEB) June 21, 2010 -- When people think of medical tourism they offen think of major medical procedures, yet just getting a complete physical in Costa Rica can save you enough money compared to the US prices you can take a family of four on a complete Costa Rican vacation.

Tom Duhr of Commercial Group Intermediaries, Inc. in Chicagowished to experience firsthand what Costa Rican Medical Care offers while attending the Latin American Medical Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica.

'I ordered the Executive Plan physical and the service I received was unbelievable. I was taken from station to station, for my testing, and never had to wait in the hospital", said Mr. Duhr. "When I returned home, I took my complete physical papers back to my doctor and he was impressed with all the tests but more importantly with the report the Costa Rican doctor has provided for my doctor here in the USA. We both figured I saved around $5,000 with all the tests I received, compared to having all these tests done in the states. Costa Rican Medical Care is something that I will be talking with my brokers and consultants as a means for their clients to save money on raising health care costs in the self funded community."

There are many one day medical or dental procures that you can take advantage of before or after you explore the natural beauty that a trip to Costa Ricaoffers.

Physicals for women and men
Stress Test
Eye Exam
Dental Cleaning, whiting, fluoride treatment

'Health care costs in the United Stateshave exploded in the last few years, but the same procedures are very affordable in Costa Rica. Many people or self insured employers that have to pay for their medical expenses out of pocket don't realize they have other options which can keep them healthy and save money at the same time, said Tim Morales of Costa Rican Medial Care. 'Working with the three JCI accredited private hospitals, physicians, plastic surgeons and dentists in Costa Rica, Costa Rican Medical Care can help people save up to 70% on certain medical care procedures'.

Why not let Costa Rican Medical Care make an introduction for you to the one or more of the many qualified medical providers in Costa Rica. For more information on using Costa Rican Medical Care visit www.costaricanmedicalcare.com or call them at 262-348-1300.
Media Contact:
Costa Rican Medical Care



Medical tourism expected to increase with U.S. health reform

March 23, 2010 Tico Times By Chrissie Long

Even as the $940 billion health reform in the United Stateswill expand medical care coverage to 30 million previously uninsured citizens, there will still be a market for medical tourism, said Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the U.S.- based nonprofit Medical Tourism Association.

“We anticipate medical tourism to increase,” Stephano said in an interview with The Tico Times on Monday. “More people will have access to health insurance (in the United States), but you are going to see an increase in the underinsured.”

It's these underinsured that have traditionally provided a large client base for medical tourism, Stephano said, as people look abroad for services that United States insurance companies deem “not necessary” including hip replacements, dental care or cosmetic surgery.

Patients are able to find such non-essential services of similar quality but at a fraction of the cost in countries like Costa Rica, Indiaand Brazil, said Michael Quirós, who oversees Latin American operations for the Medical Tourism Association.

However, it's not just the underinsured who will be looking abroad for medical care. With increased strain placed on medical services in the U.S.– because of greater demand – insurance companies will start offering incentives for their clients to receive medical treatment abroad.

“Outside of the United States, medical care is less expensive – in some areas, five or six times so,” he said. “Insurance companies and employers recognize the price differential and will encourage patients to seek attention abroad.”

“I think the health reform is 100 percent positive for the medical tourism industry,” Quiros said.

The reform, which the U.S. Congress passed on Sunday night, will require every American to have health insurance by 2014 and expand Medicaid to cover people who cannot afford to pay for insurance themselves. It will also prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against patients based on their medical history and will lower prescription medicine costs for seniors.

Stephano said the United Statessystem may start to resemble the system in Canadaand Europe, where greater demand for health care has increased wait-times and pushed individuals to seek alternatives.

“More people are going to begin using health services, which puts a higher demand on the country's health system,” she said. “The situation may be compounded with the (aging of the) baby boom generation.”

According to a study done by DeloitteCenterfor Health Solutions, an estimated 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for medical care in 2007. This number is expected to increase to six million in 2010.

Costa Rica, with its three internationally-accredited hospitals and proximity to the United States, is in a unique position to take advantage of the emerging market, according to health industry experts. In recent years, the country's private hospitals and clinics have buffed up their marketing materials, hoping to capitalize on U.S.clientele.



Former San Francisco Chronicle travel editor Christine Delsol:
SFGate Sept. 22, 2010 Copyright SFGate

With options mushrooming, it's important to know how to choose a care provider or medical facilitator. A good place to start is MedicalTourism.com, which provides information on countries that provide medical tourism, and the AMA's guidelines on medical tourism, which outlines what you should expect.


People who have experienced medical tourism have these tips:

  1. Know what is wrong with you — you can't completely avoid seeing a doctor at home — so you can choose the best facility and doctor.
  2. Research all you can about your procedure, and don't be afraid to ask questions.
  3. Get your doctor's profile.
  4. Find out exactly what the price covers: Airfare? Hotel? Ground transportation? An English-speaking interpreter, if needed? The best medical travel programs include all of these.
  5. Make sure the hospital is JCI accredited.
  6. Find out if accommodations are close to the hospital.
  7. Ask whether you will you need to give blood for use during surgery.
  8. Find out what follow-up care will be required, and whether you'll get help arranging it after you get home.
  9. Ask what happens if things go wrong and whether you'll get assistance in seeking recourse.
  10. Once all your questions are answered, you get to the most important consideration of all. Lostocco nailed it: "You just have to feel comfortable with the person who is telling you about the service."

Patient Money

Going Abroad to Find Affordable Health Care

By WALECIA KONRAD N.Y. Times Published: March 20, 2009

Ben Schreiner and his wife, Pamela, traveled to Costa Rica in search of lower cost and better care for Mr. Schreiner's hernia surgery.

WHEN Ben Schreiner, a 62-year-old retired Bank of America executive, found out last year he would need surgery for a double hernia, he started evaluating possible doctors and hospitals. But he didn’t look into the medical center in his hometown, Camden, S.C., or the bigger hospitals in nearby Columbia. Instead, his search led him to consider surgery in such far-flung places as Ireland, Thailand and Turkey. Skip to next paragraph

Surgery Abroad
Ultimately he decided on San José, Costa Rica, where just a week or so after the outpatient procedure and initial recovery, he and his wife were sightseeing throughout the country, then relaxing at a lush resort. He was home four weeks later, with no complications.

Mr. Schreiner is what’s known in the health care world as a “medical tourist.” No longer covered under his former employer’s insurance and too young to qualify for Medicare, Mr. Schreiner has a private health insurance policy with a steep $10,000 deductible. Not wanting to spend all of that on the $14,000 his operation would have cost stateside, he paid only $3,900 in hospital and doctor’s bills in Costa Rica.

“I didn’t have to fork over my entire deductible,” Mr. Schreiner said. “What’s more, they bent over backwards there to take care of me — no waiting, a friendly staff, everyone spoke English.”

At least 85,000 Americans choose to travel abroad for medical procedures each year, according to a recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Treatment includes dental implants, hip and knee replacements, heart valve replacements and bypass surgery. The cost of surgery performed overseas can be as little as 20 percent of the price of the same procedure in the United States, according to a recent report by the American Medical Association.

Medical tourism is expected to expand quickly in the coming years because of rising health care costs in the United States, increasing availability of international facilities with United States accreditation, and the fact that insurers and employers are beginning to embrace the practice.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, for example, has started a subsidiary company, Companion Global Healthcare, to offer medical tourism services to individuals and businesses. Hannaford supermarkets in Maine recently added an international option for hip replacements to its health care plan.

At the moment, however, the bulk of medical tourism candidates are uninsured and underinsured people paying their own bills and looking for low-cost alternatives to American care. Medical tourism advocates argue that the quality of care overseas is often equal to or better than that in the United States. Many countries have high success rates, American-trained English-speaking doctors and the newest facilities, often built specifically to attract foreign patients.

But there are no comprehensive data that adequately compare overseas surgical outcomes or other quality measures to those used in the United States, said Dr. Sharon Kleefield of the Harvard Medical School and a specialist in overseas health care quality measures. “No matter how high your hospital is rated, there are issues with regard to quality and safety when you travel for medical treatment,” she said.

The American Medical Association, also worried about the risks associated with overseas medical travel and the difficulty in getting adequate follow-up care, issued guidelines on medical tourism last June. (They’re available on the Web at tinyurl.com/cpklcw.)

With those cautions in mind, here’s what you need to know if you are considering an international medical option:

Determine whether you are a good candidate.“Traveling for surgery is a big deal,” said Josef Woodman, author of “Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody’s Guide to Affordable World-Class Medical Tourism.” Recovery time is often compressed, and a long flight home can cause complications like a blood clot. You’ll need to provide a thorough health history and have a physical stateside before you go to make sure you can withstand the trip.

Mr. Woodman points out that not every condition should be treated overseas: “Orthopedic and nonemergency heart procedures have some of the highest success rates. But with something like cancer, you need the ongoing relationship with your oncologist and health care team.”

Get a reliable middleman.Dozens of medical tourism facilitators and planners have sprung up in the past decade hoping to capitalize on the trend and simplify the process for consumers. “Unfortunately, plenty of unreliable firms have sprung up, too,” said Jonathan Edelheit, president of the Medical Tourism Association, a nonprofit organization made up of hospitals and facilitators that cater to traveling patients.

Good firms, said Mr. Edelheit, will match your medical needs with the best overseas hospitals and physicians; make your travel, lodging, visa and local transportation arrangements; handle billing; and help arrange follow-up care. For a list of facilitators vetted by the association, go to medicaltourismassociation.com. Once you narrow your search, ask each potential firm for references and former patients you can interview.

Check out quality yourself.Although medical tourism firms will say they work only with the highest quality hospitals and physicians, you’ll still need to check the records. Don’t be swayed by the luxurious private hospital rooms, gourmet food and other amenities splashed on the Web sites. You want to be sure you’re going to a hospital accredited by the Joint Commission, the organization that reviews both American and international medical and dental facilities, using United State standards. (Find it at www.jointcommissioninternational.org/.)

Be sure to read carefully, a commission spokeswoman, Elizabeth Zhani, warned. You may find a facility’s name on the accreditation list, but it may be that only an affiliated lab or clinic is accredited, not the entire facility.

“Keep in mind that commission accreditation is the floor, not the ceiling,” said Dr. Kleefield. You’ll want to ask your own questions about the facility’s blood safety, medication safety, infection rates and unexpected morbidity rates for the procedure you’re undergoing, and discuss the data with your American doctor.

Just as you would in the United States, you’ll want to interview the physician handling your case before you arrive. Ask if he or she was trained in the United States and is fluent in English, how often he or she has done the procedure you’re having, and what the long-term outcomes have been. Conducting this interview beforehand will also help you establish a rapport with your doctor before you go under the knife.

Arrange your follow-up care in advance.“The biggest stumbling block with medical travel is getting care when you return,” said David Boucher, chief executive of Companion Global. Doctors often balk at treating complications from overseas surgeries because they are unfamiliar with the procedures or prosthetics used or are worried about liability.

Meet with your general practitioner and any specialist who may have been treating you before you go, said Dr. Ted Epperly, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians: “They’ll be able to provide your medical records, either electronically or on paper, to your overseas doctors.”

Give your doctors in the United States specific details on where you are going for your procedure and contact information for your overseas doctors. And be sure to ask what medical records and information you need to bring home to complete your care.

Finally, before you leave, do your best to arrange a phone or e-mail conference between your doctors at home and abroad so communication will be established before a problem arises.





07/09/11 03:00
SJ, Costa Rica
"work in cr"
sorry guys. but working in CR is not as easy as it seems, not even for locals like me.
i don't know what the current protocol establishes, but you must take a written and oral interview in front of the board of medicine. and you must be fluent in Spanish and be able to demonstrate so. if everything goes well i don't think you start working right ways but must also do part of the internship program.
in any case...talk to the board of medicine, they might offer all info and help.
Colegio de Medicos de Costa Rica