Sunday, February 09, 2014

"NO Frills" Medical Care in Mexico

 Toward the end of January, when I gave up the ghost and finally went to the Doctor, I sat in the hallway waiting for the doc to open the door.  At that point, I thought it would be interesting to show how simple a medical clinic is in Mexico.

Rows of seats line the hallway from the main front door.  There is one receptionist.  No middle nurse to take you to the Dr.  Here they just say the door number.  You go to it.  Sit there and wait for the doctor to open the door at the appointed time of your appointment.  It always happens that way.  Simple and to the point.

By the way, I called that morning at 8:30 AM and they said "Could I come at 11AM?".  Always, Dr. Barrera opens the door on the stroke of the hour as do Dr. Alvarez the cardiologist or Dr. Valazquez the ophthalmologist.  Today that did not happen.
At 11:15, the receptionist came down the hall in a flurry.  She told me that Dr. Barrera had been detained, he was so sorry but would be here by 11:30.  Which he was.  
At 11:30, the door opened and Dr. Barrera escorted me into his office.  He's not a small talk kinda guy so by the time I sat down in the chair, he was  asking me, " What is the problem/".  Actually, I like that a lot.  He is open, straight forward and the best diagnostician I've ever gone to anywhere!

He did a short exam.  He said we're going to have an ultrasound.  He said, wait, I'll return.  I saw him scurry down the hall to the ultrasound room in the hospital.  He came back slightly exasperated and said would it be possible for me to wait another 30 minutes as they were busy.

When the time came, he walked me to the ultrasound room, introduced me to the technician and left.  During the ultrasound, he came in to check to see that I was all right!  And to see the screen.

When all was over and they had the results, Dr. Barrera told me the news, straightforward.

Total cost for the office visit and ultrasound - $88USD.  Time spent there - 1 1/2 hours.

I'm looking forward to seeing what my experience is this coming week when I go to a surgeon's office to meet with him prior to my procedure on the 17th of February in the USA.  IF I am allowed, I'll take photos.
I'm sure I'll have to fill out a bunch of forms as well.  We'll see.

Stay tuned.


Peter Kouwenhoven said...

In Canada you'll sit for about six hours before you're seen to, this is in an emergency. Unless you are in serious trouble. Otherwise, make an appointment for next week or so.


Thanks for posting this Babs. So many folks are concerned about medical treatment in SM and your experience should reassure them.

If I had needed to see my doctor, I would have had to make an appointment, probably wait for a week or more or be told to go to the ER. Then once I got there, prove I had insurance, fill out forms, and wait from anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (if I was lucky) to be seen. And the cost would have been far more than $88.

Some years ago, a friend fell on the cobblestones and injured his hand. He insisted on keeping our dinner reservations that night and wouldn't seek medical treatment until the next morning, by which time his hand was the size of a small baseball glove.
Our host took us to Le Fe hospital where he was immediately taken in for an x ray,etc. and the hand was stabilized as it was too swollen to be set.
When he got home to Iowa he went to the University of Iowa hospital where he works, and is one of the top hospitals in the country. They informed him the treatment was exactly correct and that they could have done no better.
Several small bones were broken and they did surgery to repair it. Cost was over $3000.

Cost of the emergency treatment at La Fe $25.00.

Fredericka Arellano

Babs said...

Peter, I'm continuously amazed at the care both medically and emotionally given by the drs here.
Dr. Barrera gave me his personal cell phone # in case I had problems in Texas!

Babs said...

Fredericka - I wish Medicare paid out of country. It would be a whole lot less expensive then it is in the USA.
I intend to get Mx insurance when I get back from Texas in a few weeks so I don't have to fly to the USA for surgery.

Shannon said...

Medical care here is wonderful, I agree, but it is wise to get IMSS or something similar. I speak from hindsight, as I procrastinated in getting medical coverage and in the 4 years since my accident I have had 8 surgeries and spent somewhere in the vicinity of 2oo,ooo Canadian dollars. Hindsight is 20/20.

Babs said...

Oh Shannon, I'm so sorry for all you've gone through....emotionally, physically and financially. My heart goes out to you.

I realize how lucky I am to have Medicare in the USA, IF I can get there.

AND, that is the issue, I need evac insurance as well as medical care insurance here! I've been foolish to not have something.

angelinem said...

I've always heard good things about medical care in Mexico.
Here in the USofA it's a whole different story of course. I am lucky enough to have an HMO that is excellent, appointments are always on time; thank God my husband's employer pays the premium.
Now as for taking photos in the US when in hospital or clinic, I never ask permission, but stop if they ask me to. Half the time I've been able to get tons of photos while I wait for the doctor to come in or the xray or lab tech.
Much good luck on your surgery.

Babs said...

Thanks Angelinem - I've never had a problem with doctors or care in the USA either. Nor here in Mexico. However, the out of pocket cost for the gallbladder surgery was not within my means so I'm off to the USA where it is no cost!
I HATE to leave this beautiful weather (85 today) but one does what one has to do........

gringosuelto said...

I'm here to tell you that there'll be plenty of bureaucracy for your surgery in Houston, if it's anything like my experience so far at Mass General. This weekend, I was required to go to a website and fill out about 15 pages of forms with data that were already in MGH's computer system. Then today, I had a scheduled call with a nurse to verbally ask me all the same questions that I filled out online.

Nurse: "So it says here you take, x, y, and z. Do you take them every day?"

Me: "Well, as the form that I filled out yesterday says, I take x every morning, y from time to time, and z is an ointment that I use as needed."

And so on and so forth. She had a couple of questions that I hadn't answered online, but the answer to those are already on MGH's computer. (Date of your last physical exam?) Fortunately, the nurse was nice, and I tried to be nice to her as it wasn't her decision to ask me for the same information twice.

But it's a little exasperating, and they value your time at approximately zero.

So gird yourself.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where it'd be a marriage made in heaven to combine Mexican healthcare efficiency with USA technology and skill.

Babs said...

Kim, I'm so glad you forewarned me!
I'll be ready, sort of.
I was surprised that this dr's nurse didn't ask any questions about insurance and was so courteous. We'll see how long that lasts..ha
Today I called to reconfirm the appt as I didn't want to get on a plane if something wasn't going to happen.
Again, she was brisk but efficient!
I'll keep you posted.......
Heck IF I can just figure out the Mexico City airport and where IMN is and the various gates. I'll be a happy camper. Life is always an adventure!

gringosuelto said...

The only thing difficult about Mexico City's airport is whether your flight is in Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. It's not particularly easy to get from one to the other, and not all the airlines have yet figured out that they need to put the terminal on your ticket. So if you can get confirmation of which terminal you'll be flying out of, you will be WAY ahead of the game.

Fond regards,