Medical Vacations in Costa Rica archives
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Court halts plan to put new tax
on dental and medical services


By the Medical Vacations in Costa Rica staff


A mainstay of President Laura Chinchilla's massive tax proposal was a levy on the work of professionals, like physicians and dentists.

The president and her staff wanted to impose a value-added tax on these types of services that had not been taxed in the past. Administration officials also wanted to curb tax evasion. That would not have much of an effect on those who provide services to medical vacationers because nearly all employ strict outside accountants to maintain their books.

The presidential tax package passed one vote of the Asamblea Legislativa even in the face of widespread public opposition. A coalition of political parties rammed the measure through.

The ramming technique turned out to be the bill's undoing. The Sala IV constitutional court took issue with the way the technique would have restricted legislative debate. So instead of getting a windfall of some $500 million a year, the presidential staff got a stern note from the court, and the bill was shelved.

For medical tourists, this is good news. They would have had to pay the 14 percent tax on medical services. The bill may resurface again later this year, but for the time being, medical and dental procedures in Costa Rica are not subject to a value-added tax.
— June 4, 2012


Jairo Vargas melds dentistry with biology
so his patients heal quicker for impants

By the Medical Vacations in Costa Rica staff

One problem with dental implants is that there is a waiting period after teeth are removed before permanent implants can be installed. A Costa Rican dentist is pioneering a new way to reduce that wait.

He is Jairo Vargas, and his technique is similar to the therapy that many professional athletes have used to
ease injured muscles and tendons. The technique is part of the growing field that merges medical skills with biology.

Dr. Vargas uses  platelet rich plasma therapy, which is a long way to say that the patient´s own blood is used to speed the healing process.

Typically, if there is a need for a bone graft prior to a dental implant that procedure must be done about nine month before the final oral surgery so the patient´s mouth can heal. Dr. Vargas says he can reduce this waiting period to about four months. Even a routine extraction requires a wait before an implant can be installed in most cases.

In platelet rich plasma therapy, a small amount of  a patient´s own blood is removed and put in
Dr.Vargas at work
Dr. Vargas at work
a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets. These are the tiny components of human blood that produce clotting and also promote  place to give the body a boost in healing.

Dr. Vargas, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and implant specialist, said as far as he knows he is the only surgeon in the area to provide the platelet-rich treatment for implants. He said he has has been in the dental field for more than 20 years. He spent 17 of those years as chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Hospital San Juan de Dios. Now he dedicates himself to his private practice and as a professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

He is fluent in Spanish, English and German.

Dr. Vargas said his favorite surgery to the dental implant. That is why he went looking for a process that could speed up healing for a patient.

On average he said, he perform dental implant surgery two times a week. The office is not a sprawling one so there is personal attention given to each patient. He is known to be very concerned with sanitation and sterilization.
— June 4, 2012