San José Area Hospital, Lab Services Top-Notch

February 1, 2008
When asked to think of one thing you associate with Costa Rica, chances are you would not immediately answer “medical care.”
It may surprise you to know that medical supplies are one of the country’s top three exports. In addition, medical tourists and expatriates have been taking advantage of low-cost, high-quality dental care and cosmetic surgery in Costa Rica since at least the 1970s.
The country’s reputation as a center for quality medical care is now set to grow further following the recent announcement that Clínica Bíblica in San José has become the first hospital in Central America to be awarded accreditation by the U.S.-based Joint Commission International, with others set to earn the accolade in the coming months. This prestigious award is an independent guarantee that the quality of care complies with the strictest international medical standards, and that the clinic will offer a high level of comfort and service (TT, Jan. 25).
So which are the country’s top medical facilities, and what services do they offer?
Hospitals
All hospitals featured here have a large proportion of English-speaking physicians.
Clínica Bíblica Hospital
Treatments: The hospital staff covers all medical specialties, catering to both in- and outpatients, and can perform any major, minor or cosmetic procedure. It also handles routine, emergency and cosmetic dentistry and has full diagnostic testing capabilities.
Emergencies: 24-hour, fully equipped emergency room.
Beds: The hospital currently has 120 private rooms. It is in the process of increasing capacity and should have 180 rooms available by the end of the year. The expansion will create an entire floor dedicated to medical tourists.
Insurance: Accepts policies from major insurance companies around the world.
Medical Tourism: The hospital has a dedicated international department to facilitate medical tourism. Foreign patients are assigned a health care assistant to coordinate travel arrangements, appointments, procedures, paperwork and aftercare.
Awards: Clínica Bíblica recently became the first hospital in Central America to be accredited by the Joint Commission International.
Location, Contact Information: Calle Central/1, Avenida 14/16, San José, www.clinicabiblica.com, 522-1000.
CIMA Hospital
An affiliate of International Hospital Corporation, Dallas, Texas.
Treatments: The hospital staff covers all medical specialties, catering to both in- and outpatients, and can perform any major, minor or cosmetic procedure. It also handles routine, emergency and cosmetic dentistry and has full diagnostic testing capabilities.
Emergencies: 24-hour, fully equipped emergency room.
Beds: The hospital currently has 88 private rooms. It is in the process of increasing capacity and should have 112 rooms available by the end of the year. Suites are available.
Insurance: Accepts policies from major insurance companies around the world.
Medical Tourism: The hospital has a medical tourism unit to assist foreign patients. As part of its expansion, the hospital will be inaugurating additional facilities for medical tourists, such as an Internet lounge and television room.
Awards: CIMA is in the process of obtaining accreditation by the Joint Commission International and hopes to receive the distinction this year.
Location, Contact Information: Próspero Fernández Highway, 500 meters west of Multiplaza Escazú, west of San José, www.hospitalsanjose.net, 208-1000.
La Católica Hospital
Formerly Clínica Católica.
Treatments: The hospital staff covers all medical specialties, catering to both in- and outpatients, can perform any major, minor or cosmetic procedure and has full diagnostic testing capabilities. The hospital does not currently offer dentistry services but has plans to create such a unit.
Emergencies: 24-hour, fully equipped emergency room.
Beds: The hospital currently has about 50 private rooms. It is in the process of increasing capacity and additional rooms should become available through February and March. Suites are available.
Insurance: Accepts policies from major insurance companies around the world.
Medical Tourism: The hospital has a customer service department to aid all patients.
It does not currently have an office specifically for medical tourists but has plans to create one.
Awards: La Católica Hospital is in the process of obtaining accreditation by the Joint Commission International and hopes to receive the distinction this year.
Location, Contact Information: South side of the Tribunales de Justicia, San Antonio de Guadalupe, northeast of San José, www.hospitallacatolica.com (Web site under construction at time of writing), 246-3000.
Laboratories
Laboratorios Clínicos Echandi
Services: Offers all types of laboratorybased diagnostic testing and carries out chemical analyses on behalf of many private medical practitioners. Also offers drug testing and personal health checks for businesses and individual patients.
Insurance: Does not accept insurance policies from international companies.
Accreditation: The lab meets internationally recognized laboratory standards as certified by the Costa Rican Accreditation Body (ECA). The company is also recognized by the College of American Pathologists and RIQAS, an international external quality assessment scheme.
Location, Contact Information: Locations throughout San José area, www.laboratoriosclinicosechandi.com, 222-3111.
 
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