By Miriam Welldon
Part 3 in our series about health care options in La Paz, Mexico
In our first two posts about health care options in La Paz, we talked about two options for health insurance, including Seguro Popular (see Option #1) and Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS). In this post, Vista Properties real estate agent Miriam Welldon interviews the medical director of a local La Paz hospital about private care in La Paz area hospitals.
Care in the local private hospitals is generally excellent. To give you an overview, I met with Dr. Salvador Belilty, the Medical Director of The Medical Centre (locally and fondly known as ‘The White Hospital’). Founded 8 years ago by a group of specialists as a day-time walk-in clinic, the hospital is now a full-service facility that operates 24 hours a day, and includes emergency and ambulance services.
This small hospital is equipped to handle a huge range of issues, from minor boo-boos to brain surgery. Their spacious private rooms include sleeping accommodations for family members, big screen TVs, WiFi and telephone, as well as a professional staff who are at your side within seconds of calling.
The Medical Centre has the only dedicated ICU unit in the city, an in-house lab, X-ray, ultrasound, access to consulting specialists nationwide at 46 networked hospitals through a dedicated Internet platform, and much more. The list of specialists working in the hospital is impressive. There are too many to mention them all, but they include a cardiologist, a neurosurgeon, the only hand specialist in the state, a trauma specialist, an ob-gyn and more. In other words, this hospital has a specialist available for pretty much anything you need. They accept all forms of private insurance and work with many insurance companies directly for payment.
Since Robin and I are from Canada, we are used to longish waits to see a specialist or for an emergency room visit. I have found private care in La Paz to be quite different. The few times we have needed emergency services, we were in within 45 seconds, and the care was excellent! One can generally have an appointment with a specialist within 24 hours of your call at a cost of around 700 pesos.
What’s the downside? Well, depending on the state of your pocketbook, private care isn’t cheap. But compared to many other places in the world, it can be very reasonable. There are quite a few private hospitals in La Paz, and rates vary between facilities. An overnight (36 hour) stay at the White Hospital with a doctor, on-call specialist, heart monitoring, medications, private room and good nursing care, recently cost a friend of ours 14,000 pesos (about $700 US).
Part of the supportive and close family culture that exists in this country provides every courtesy for family to be with the patient at all times in the hospital. Patient care is a family affair, which makes for a calmer experience. So, although we have and would again make use of public hospitals, we use private care whenever we find it necessary and affordable.
Medical Center Contact Information:
- Medical Center Fidepaz – Tel: 612.124.1165 – Av. Pez Vela y Carretera al Norte
- Medical Center Costa Baja – Tel: 612.106.7171 – Carretera a Pichilingue KM. 7.5
Miriam Welldon is a Vista Properties real estate agent and is married to her business partner, Robin Hodgson, Vista Properties’ broker. The couple have lived full time in La Paz for over 12 years. Miriam balances her work and commitment to clients at Vista Properties with lots of fitness, beach time and hobbies.