Yesterday I went to see my assigned government doctor (Dr. Zuniga) for my initial visit and he was not there but his substitute was a beautiful young lady evidently just out of medical school (Dr. Arias) and she spoke good English. So it made the first visit easy. No one else spoke English at the clinic. We discussed my medical history and what I am being treated for now and postponed the physical lab work until I finish my current round of heart medicine prescribed by a private heart doctor in San Jose. Then (September) they will evaluate with their own diagnosis and prescription if any. Not all doctors use medication for arrhythmia, even in the states where medicine tends to be overused.
My whole time at the clinic including the nurse weighing, blood pressure, etc. visiting with a doctor, waiting at lab for appointment was only about one hour. One perceived problem with government health programs like this is that you have longer waits. Not so this time! All went efficiently and quickly and I was quite happy with the service! I’m now in a health plan like Bernie proposed for you guys in the states. It is great! Sorry no photos this time. Didn’t think of it at the time.
Ticos just call it “Caja” which is part of the name in Spanish. Here is a summary definition from Wikipedia:
The Costa Rican Department of Social Insurance or Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (as it is known in Spanish) is in charge of most of the nation’s public health sector. Its role in public health (as the administrator of health institutions) is key in Costa Rica, playing an important part in the state’s national health policy making.
Its services are available to all citizens and permanent legal residents. This governmental entity’s functions encompass both the administrative and functional aspects. It has the obligation (as a public institution) to formulate and execute health programs that are both preventive (such as: vaccination
, etc.) and healing (such as: surgery
, radiation therapy
, etc.) in nature.
Note that this service includes all medical needs including prescriptions, dental, eye care, etc. with no
co-pay or additional charge after my $114 a month fee for medical services. This is where I really save
money over living in the states.