San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Relief in Guanacaste to be Spelled C-I-M-A

The northwestern province of Guanacaste is going to get its first state-of-the-art private hospital for locals as well as foreigners here on medical vacations.

The project would include a new CIMAHospital, a building with medical practice offices, a commercial section with restaurants and an apartment hotel building, said Carole Veloso, director of CIMAHospital in the western San José suburb of Escazú.

Developers plan to break ground in January, with an estimated date of completion by the end of 2010 or early 2011, said Lou Aguilera of developer Pacific Plaza Health and Living.

The hospital, as well as the other buildings, would be located next to the Do-itCenter in the canton of Carrillo, on the road between LiberiaInternationalAirport and the region’s seaside resort areas.

This private hospital not only would serve the local residents of Guanacaste but the growing foreign clientele seeking high-quality care.

“The number of patients may vary due to the fact that these facilities may not only serve patients from around the province, but also may serve foreigners visiting for ‘medical tourism’ purposes,” said Veloso.

Medical tourism is a fast-growing trend in which people travel to another country to obtain cosmetic and dental surgeries, among some procedures, at a lower price.

“For these tourists to recover fully from their procedures, a hotel accommodation would be provided for a prolonged stay,” said Veloso.

On average, this type of services offers units with one or two rooms with complete kitchens for stay up to five days long.

In June, 21 doctors launched Costa Rica Medical Holding, the country’s first medical tourism consortium. The group will promote its services primarily in the United States, where it also hopes to cultivate working relationships with insurance companies (TT, Oct. 31).

“More than 750,000 Americans received medical care abroad last year,” said Hernán Campos, the consortium’s manager. “We estimate that in 2010, at least 40,000 of them will visit Costa Rica.”

The CIMAHospital in Guanacaste would be about 20,000 square meters in size and would have an emergency room open 24 hours a day. It would also include surgery and recovery rooms, an X-ray facility, diagnosis and specialties rooms as well.

The property for this project, whose exact cost is still being analyzed, used to belong to Federico Apestegui, one of the first Guanacaste developers.

According to Aguilera, Apestegui helped in the development of the province during the last 60 years. In 2005, Apestegui passed away leaving the land to his daughter, Luisa Apestegui, who happens to be Aguilera’s wife.

Furthermore, Aguilera is currently calculating the indirect and direct number of jobs that this project would generate.

“We are certain there would be a big demand for a qualified workforce within the construction sector,” Aguilera said. “These workers would positively impact not only the Carrillo economy but the economy of Guanacaste as well.”

CIMA hospitals are part of International Hospital Corp., a Dutch company that currently has numerous high-end medical centers throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica.


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