Hospital Clínica Bíblica, a private non-profit hospital located in Costa Rica, was opened as a public ministry in 1929. Its affiliations with Mount Sinai in Florida, Ochsner Medical Institutions and Tulane Medical Center, both in Louisiana, form a large well-rounded team of specialists for diagnostics and treatments. It is partnered with Homewatch Care Givers, a stateside based franchise that provides post-op care to patients after their hospital stay. The hospital is the first in the area to receive JCI accreditation. The majority of its 200 physicians are board certified. Many of the facility’s staff members speak English.1
The hospital’s medical team provides services in more than 40 specialties including general and internal medicine, cardiology, neonatology, pediatrics, ophthalmology, oncology, orthopedics, geriatrics, gynecology and obstetrics, neurology, and otorhinolaryngology. Services are also provided in areas such as dentistry, dermatology, physical therapy, psychology, psychiatry, and nutrition. Surgeries performed include general, cardiovascular, vascular, colorectal and laparoscopic, neurosurgery, pediatric, endosurgery, and cosmetic. Also in the facility are anesthesiology, intensive care, emergency services, a laboratory, and a blood bank.
There are 65 rooms, including 8 in intensive care. It’s unclear what the rooms are equipped with as the hospital’s website says, “Each room is furnished with an electric bed, sofa bed, visitor’s chair, over bed table, direct dial telephone, cable TV, closet with safety deposit box and air conditioning, depending on the assigned room.”2
The self-contained facility provides amenities for patients, visitors, and staff members on its grounds. Its two cafeterias and two restaurants are open from 6:00AM until 8:00PM. Wireless internet is available on most floors and there are computers located in the waiting rooms and cafeterias. For financial services, there are branches of Banco de Costa Rica and HSBC, a global bank. Also available are a pharmacy, a staffed chapel, and a beauty salon.
Patients from abroad, mostly from North America, make up about 20% of Hospital Clínica Bíblica’s clientele.3 The hospital accepts insurance from world-wide, but for hospitalizations not out-patient services in most cases. Beside Blue Cross Blue Shield, it also works with Cigna International, Prudential, and AIG, to name a few.
One can receive the same quality of medical treatment in Costa Rica as in the United States, but at 40%-60% less the cost. At Hospital Clínica Bíblica, breast enlargement costs $4,000 and knee replacement surgery about $11,000. In the United States the procedures run about $10,0004 and between $17,000 and $34,0005, respectively.
Feelings about Hospital Clínica Bíblica are somewhat mixed. One patient said he received “first rate care”, but had to rely on his limited Spanish to communicate and faced complications with billing and insurance. He knows a lot of patients who were happy with the hospital, but several “mentioned billing issues and admittance problems. I tend to think that their medical staff is high quality, but their services and administration really need help.”6
One patient was “very impressed” with the hospital’s medical team and accommodations. Another, who works in the medical field, felt it was one of the “finest” experiences and she has “nothing short of admiration, appreciation and supportive comments for the treatment, the medical attention, both the administrative as well as the medical staff.” Other patients mirror the positive sentiments and say they will return for the medical care that exceeded expectation.7
Hospital Clínica Bíblica’s website is professional and available in both English and Spanish. A couple of the pages are in Spanish only. One can search for a doctor by name and/or specialty. Neither training background nor certifications are provided on a profile, but a doctor’s specialty, language(s), and a photo are. Along with specialties and services also available for viewing are patients’ rights and duties, international services, and news. One may take a virtual tour of the facility via panoramic photographs and a video. Navigating the website can be somewhat annoying, as each bit of information has its own page.
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