It's almost like a vacation
And this is, your source for qualified caregivers

Detailed research is a must for medical tourists

By the Medical Vacation in Costa Rica staff

Medical tourists have to be doubly aware when they come to Costa Rica or any foreign land.

Expectations of the kind of health care security that is the norm back home may not exist. In Costa Rica, for example, there are few recourses for a medical job done badly. There is neither malpractice insurance coverage nor set remedies resulting from an incorrect
treatment or poor quality work.

There also are licensed and well known physicians who have more of an eye for money than the welfare of patient.

The quality for dental work ranges from someone who may or may not have proper training working out of a garage to a first-class facility in Escazú where one employee works a full schedule just sterilizing instruments.

The patient may be misled by different claims about credentials or clinic facilities on the Internet. A dentist, for example, may or may not be a recognized specialist or have taken proper or advanced training for the treatments he or she is offering.

Foreigners are at a disadvantage finding quality medical providers.

In addition there are what are called medical tourism facilitators, who are basically salespeople favoring the medical personnel who pay commissions and sometimes subscription fees. These so-called facilitators are concerned with supplying their professionals listed with them. A potential patient may be directed to anyone on this list and not necessarily the most competent practitioner. The facilitators will attest to the professionals qualifications and even claim their fees are the lowest in Costa Rica and a third or less than fees charged in the United States for
comparable treatments.
butcher surgeon
Medical VacationCR graphic
Watch out for this guy!

An organization called the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, known as Promed, claims on its Web site that Costa Rican medical professionals and  hospitals are as qualified as those found in the United States and Canada.

In fact, some are and some are not. A recent arrest was of a man working as a cosmetic surgeon in an established clinic who had no license and may not even have had medical training. Some of his former patients appeared on television to show bruises and other damage done by his techniques.

Fake physicians and bad practice usually only come to light when there are criminal charges.

One medical tourist wrote reporters to complain about dental work that cost thousands to repair back home. She was tempted to file a complaint with law enforcement or the dentist professional organization. That was until the dentist's lawyer threaten her with a slander suit.

The dental professional organization, called a colegio here, receives complaints every year from patients about poor quality work and non-caring practitioners. It is limited in scope regarding discipline, and other patients will not be alerted to who these dentists are unless they specifically contact the colegio and ask about that dentist.

There is good sense in thoroughly checking out a medical practitioner before coming to Costa Rica. The Internet is a good source.  But there are no guidelines or confirmation of claims and credentials posted. Advertising in the English-language newspapers should be consulted. Editors know who the hacks are.

Those considering medical tourism should contact organizations in which the professional claims to be a member and visit the colegio Web page to confirm the status of the professional, according to reputable medical experts consulted for this article. Be careful of illogical and unreasonable claims by the professionals or providers, they warn.

As with other big ticket purchases, price should not be a controlling factor. Only the U.S. federal government is silly enough to accept the low bidder.

Common sense is also valuable. Some medical conditions require intense followup. That means either a prolonged stay here or the unlikely possibility of a  physician at home who will do the followup.

The up side of medical tourism is the possibility that the procedure will cost less than in the States or Canada. That also is not always the case.  The price depends on the provider, and some are paying thousands in advertising a month to attract patients. Guess who ends up paying for marketing.
— June 1, 2015

Expats and medical tourists should do their homework

Never does the phrase "you get what you pay for" apply more strongly than in seeking medical care in Costa Rica. A medical tourist who looks only to price is bound to have troubles. Some of them can be very serious.

See our story HERE!

Other news articles are found in our Archives
Page One    Page Two   Page Three 
Page Four  Page Five  Page Six

This Web site is owned by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A., the parent company
of A.M. Costa Rica, the nation's leading daily English language news source.
Copyrighted 2013 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A.