Costa Rican clinics earn U.S. quality stamp

October 2, 2009

Three Costa Rican clinics have received certification that puts them on par with U.S. medical centers, a move that national competitiveness authorities hope will boost this country´s profile as a prime destination for medical tourism.

Following a six-month review process, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Facilities (AAAASF) has certified the private surgical and ambulatory center Clínica UNIBE, the dental clinic Dental Sonrisa Para Todos and plastic surgery specialists Cirugía Plástica Pino.

“The international accreditation of health services allows us to position ourselves among countries such as the United States, where patients are looking for certified qualified,” said Dr. Jorge Cortés, president of the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine (PROMED).

The vast majority of Costa Rica´s medical tourists come from the United States, whose population in many cases lacks affordable health care. Many procedures here are as little as one-third the cost, or less.

Nearly 13 percent of the medical tourists who visit Costa Rica seek cosmetic surgery procedures, while another 35 percent come for dental work, according to a study by the Competitiveness Ministry. In the U.S., insurance companies are beginning to catch on, offering to chip in for travel packages to this Central American country.

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